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Peter John Collins (6 November 1931 – 3 August 1958) was a Formula One driver from Englandmarker. He participated in 35 World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 18 May 1952. He won 3 races, achieved 9 podiums, and scored a total of 47 championship points.

In common with many British drivers of the immediate post-war period, Collins cut his racing teeth in the frenetic 500cc category (adopted as Formula 3 at the end of 1950), when his parents bought him a Cooper 500 from the fledgling Cooper Car Company. These small machines, powered by motorcycle engines, were also the proving ground of many of Collins' F1 contemporaries, notably including Stirling Moss.

He got his F1 break in 1952, picking up a drive for the lowly HWM team, replacing Moss. Results did not come the team's way, and Collins left after the 1953 season. Following spells driving for Vanwall and Maseratimarker, and one brief outing in a BRM which ended with a crash in qualifying, Collins was signed to the Ferrari team for the 1956 F1 season.

Finally things looked to be going Collins' way. The 1956 season proved to be a turning point, with a second place - behind Moss - at Monaco, and wins at the Belgian and French Grands Prix. Indeed, Collins was on the verge of becoming Britain's first F1 World Champion when he handed his Lancia-Ferrari D50 over to team leader Juan Manuel Fangio after the latter suffered a steering-arm failure toward the end of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Collins eventually finished second, but the advantage handed to Moss, and the extra points gained by Fangio's finish, demoted Collins to third in the championship. This selfless, team-orientated action gained Collins immense respect among the Italian racing tifosi, and the gratitude and admiration of Enzo Ferrari himself, a man notoriously hard to please. In his double-biography of Collins and Mike Hawthorn, "Mon Ami Mate", Chris Nixon describes the ensuing relationship between the English driver and his Italian boss as being almost like father and son from this point on.

In 1957, Collins was joined at Ferrari by Mike Hawthorn. The two became very close friends, often getting into much off-track trouble together, and took to calling each other "mon ami mate" after a newspaper cartoon strip. 1957 also saw Collins marry American Louise King. However, despite a third-placed finish at the Nurburgring, Ferrari were distinctly under-par for much of the season as the 801 model (an evolution of the 1954 Lancia D50) was by then becoming obsolete. 1958 saw the introduction of the new Ferrari Dino 246, a far improved car, and once again results began to go the way of Scuderia Ferrari. Collins scored his third and final career victory at the British Grand Prix, as well as taking a third place at Monaco. Hawthorn also won in France, but the two were chasing Tony Brooks' Vanwall at the German Grand Prix when disaster struck. Pushing hard to keep pace, Collins lost control of his car and, in Hawthorn's direct sight, spun off the track, disappearing over a bank. During the ensuing accident Collins was thrown clear of the Ferrari, hit a tree and sustained critical injuries to his head. Despite being airlifted to hospital, Collins died later that afternoon.

Complete World Championship Formula One results

(key; * shared drive)
Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 WDC Points
1952 HW Motors HWM 52 Alta SUI
Ret
500 BEL
Ret
FRA
6
GBR
Ret
GER
DNS
NED
DNQ
ITA NC 0
1953 HW Motors HWM 53 Alta ARG 500 NED
8
BEL
Ret
FRA
13
GBR
Ret
GER SUI ITA NC 0
1954 G A Vandervell Vanwall Special Vanwall ARG 500 BEL FRA GBR
Ret
GER SUI ITA
7
ESP
DNS
NC 0
1955 Owen Racing Organisation Maseratimarker 250F Maseratimarker ARG MON 500 BEL NED GBR
Ret
NC 0
Officine Alfieri Maseratimarker Maseratimarker 250F Maseratimarker ITA
Ret
1956 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 555 Ferrari ARG
Ret
3rd 25
Lancia-Ferrari D50 Ferrari MON
2*
500 BEL
1
FRA
1
GBR
2 *
GER
Ret *
ITA
2 *
1957 Scuderia Ferrari Lancia-Ferrari D50 Ferrari ARG
6 *
9th 8
Ferrari 801 Ferrari MON
Ret
500 FRA
3
GBR
4 *
GER
3
PES ITA
Ret
1958 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari Dino 246 Ferrari ARG
Ret
MON
3
NED
Ret
500 BEL
Ret
FRA
5
GBR
1
GER
Ret
POR ITA MOR 5th 14


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