On three different occasions, two Formula 1 drivers were credited with winning the same grand prix — and that’s because drivers used to be able to share cars during a race!
In the 1950s, F1 looked a lot different than it does today. Race tracks were much longer, maintenance left a lot to be desired, grands prix could run for multiple hours at a time, and drivers weren’t quite as dedicated to getting themselves into peak physical performance. Every so often, conditions were tough enough that a team’s best driver would need to call it quits partway through the race — but instead of retiring the car, the team would stick one of their other drivers behind the wheel.
In those instances, points would be split equally between the drivers who had shared a car, even if one driver did way more racing. F1 banned the practice of sharing cars soon after, leaving this particular quirk to the sport’s first decade of existence.
1951 French Grand Prix: Juan Manuel Fangio and Luigi Fagioli
The 1951 French Grand Prix was held at the ultra-fast Reims-Gueux circuit in the Champagne region of France and, for a while, things looked good for Juan Manuel Fangio.
He’d qualified on pole position and made a rapid start to the race when his Alfa Romeo started misfiring. A quick pit stop for a magneto change wasn’t enough and Fangio was back in the pits after just one lap.
To get the team leader back on track, Alfa Romeo called in Luigi Fagioli and demanded he swap cars with Fangio; Fangio went on to win behind the wheel of what had originally been Fagioli’s car, while Fagioli finished in 11th position, 22 laps down.
Because Fangio had driven Fagioli’s car to the finish, that technically meant Fagioli shared in the victory; at 53 years old, he became the oldest driver to ever win a grand prix — a record that hasn’t been broken.
However, he was so furious at being forced to hand his car over to his team-mate that Fagioli quit racing on the spot.
1956 Argentine Grand Prix: Luigi Musso and Juan Manuel Fangio
In 1955, the Argentine Grand Prix had proven so hot that only two drivers — Fangio and Roberto Mieres — managed to finish the race without having to tag in another driver.
The following year, however, things weren’t quite as lucky for Fangio; he dominated qualifying by 2.2 seconds over his Ferrari team-mates, but a sputtering fuel pump took him out of contention during the race.
Well, at least until 30 laps into the race, when Ferrari asked Luigi Musso to pull into the pits and swap machines.
The Ferrari that had originally started the race under Fangio’s power didn’t complete another lap.
Behind the wheel of what had begun as Musso’s car, however, Fangio managed to take advantage of a slew of mechanical failures on the part of his competitors.
He passed Jean Behra’s Maserati and won the race, securing a point for fastest lap along the way.
1957 British Grand Prix: Tony Brooks and Stirling Moss
By 1957, the Formula 1 scene had begun to change.
Where the past saw domination by continental teams like Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, and Mercedes, the latter part of the decade introduced plucky British marques like Vanwall and plucky British drivers like Stirling Moss.
It was Moss’s Vanwall that took pole position during qualifying and he nabbed a dominant lead, starting to lap the field after 20 tours around Aintree.
It was then that his exhaust started sputtering, forcing him into the pits.
A quick repair failed to solve the problem, so Vanwall waved in Tony Brooks, who was recovering from an accident at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and had previously warned the team that he wasn’t quite sure he’d last the full duration of the grand prix.
Moss rejoined the race in ninth position and carved his way through the field as competitors dropped out with mechanical problems.
He claimed victory for himself and Brooks and also made Vanwall the first British team to win a grand prix.
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