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Formula One pioneer Tony Brooks dies aged 90

Motorsport pioneer Tony Brooks, who won six Formula One grands prix in the 1950s and was nicknamed the “Racing Dentist”, has died aged 90.

The Briton had been the last surviving Formula One race winner of the 1950s.

He won on his F1 debut at the non-championship 1955 Syracuse Grand Prix, where he was a last-minute entry and took time off from studying to become a dentist.

“He was part of a special group of drivers who were pioneers and pushed the boundaries at a time of great risk,” said Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali.

“He will be missed and our thoughts are with his family at this time.”

Brooks registered his first world championship victory at the British Grand Prix at Aintree in 1957, where he shared driving duties with Stirling Moss for the Vanwall team.

Brooks is widely bracketed with Moss as the best British drivers never to have won a Formula One world championship.

Brooks may well have been crowned world champion for Ferrari in 1959 had he not been hit on the opening lap of the final race at Sebring, United States, by teammate Wolfgang von Trips.

He lost two minutes in the pits having damage to his car checked and eventually crossed the line third to lose the championship to Jack Brabham by seven points.

Brooks had a record among drivers of his era eclipsed only by five-times F1 champion Juan Manuel Fangio of Argentina, Italian double world champion Alberto Ascari and fellow Briton Moss.

He stood on the podium 10 times overall in his 38-race career, also winning the grands prix of Belgium, Italy, France and Germany. 

“Brooks was a tremendous driver, the greatest—if he’ll forgive me saying this—‘unknown’ racing driver there’s ever been,” Moss, who died two years ago also aged 90, once said of his old teammate and friend. 

“He was far better than several people who won the world championship.”

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