Obituary: R.I.P. Tony Brooks 1932-2022
The sad news emerged yesterday evening that the British Formula 1 legend Tony Brooks had died aged 90. His full name was Charles Anthony Standish Brooks, but he was always affectionately known as “the racing dentist”.
Tony Brooks racing at Monaco for the iconic Ferrari team
He was born on 25 February 1932 in Dukenfield, Cheshire and began to compete in club racing in 1952 before joining the Aston Martin sports car team two years later. In 1955, aged just 23, he was predominantly focusing on his dentistry studies when he was called up by the Connaught team for the non-championship Syracuse Grand Prix where he excelled.
Brooks subsequently competed in a total of 39 championship Grands Prix between 1956 and 1961, winning six races and achieving ten podium finishes before retiring aged just 29. His impressive CV included competing for the likes of BRM, Vanwall and Ferrari. He was a quiet, reserved gentleman, who always fully appreciated the risks Formula 1 drivers faced in those days and, unlike some of his direct rivals back then who met untimely deaths, he had a far less flamboyant driving style.
This approach was best summed up when he explained “I did feel different from some of the others because motor racing was too serious to fool about and you had to be totally fit and focussed on what you were doing.”
Brooks celebrating with Sir Stirling Moss at Aintree in 1957
Formula 1’s current CEO Stefano Domenicali has paid tribute by saying “I was saddened to hear the news that Tony Brooks has died as he was part of a special group of drivers who were pioneers and pushed the boundaries at a time of great risk”.