Like all good stories, this one starts at the Monaco Grand Prix, the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix, to be exact.
Sir Stirling Moss was racing in a Lotus 18, a car known to be competitive in the year prior, but a machine quite badly outdated compared to the advanced machines on the track.
The car was comparatively low in both power and aerodynamics compared to the trio of Ferraris on track—but ever the impressive driver—Stirling was out to prove a point. With some impressive maneuvering around the streets of Monte Carlo, Moss incredibly took an early lead and got his elbows firmly out, refusing to give the lead back.
Powering through the narrow streets, Enzo’s red shark-nosed models chased Moss, looking for the perfect point to overtake. Unfortunately for the boys in red, that chance never came… and Moss emerged from his dark blue Lotus victorious.
An impression in the history books
Moss was approached by Enzo Ferrari following his dominant performance in the Monaco Grand Prix, having cleared the pack by a full 3 seconds in his Lotus.
The hero driver was invited to Maranello, the home of Ferrari, in a ceremony that could only be for the best driver of the time. Enzo propositioned the Brit with the chance of a lifetime – he wanted Moss in his F1 car. Enzo wanted Moss to tell him the exact car that he would like and Ferrari would build it for him—a partnership made in heaven.
Where most would have leapt at the chance, no strings attached, Moss bargained with the Italian. Sir Stirling didn’t want to be driving yet another red Ferrari; he wanted to stay in the same colors as his Lotus – he wanted it in blue.
As a sign of respect and a surprise to racing fans at the time, the famously stubborn Enzo agreed – striking a deal with the driver for a blue car on the grid.
Sir Stirling Moss – The best driver never to win the championship
The fastest driver on the F1 grid planted firmly into the driver’s seat of the fastest car on the F1 grid… many couldn’t wait to see the spectacle unfold.
It was Moss’ best chance at a Formula 1 world championship and possibly Ferrari’s best driver lineup ever. But Moss was a driver not famed for his luck. Tragically in April of 1962, before taking his seat in the Ferarri, he had an enormous crash while racing in the Glover Trophy at Goodwood.
Moss was badly hurt in the crash, injuring his skull, spine, and both legs, leaving him in a coma for the month following and partially paralyzing one side of his body. Thankfully, he survived, but his racing days were very much numbered. Ultimately, he retired from motorsports stating that he no longer believed he retained the instincts required.
He never reached that top spot of the Formula 1 championship and the world never got to see him race that stunning, special blue Ferrari.