My Time Will Come

My time will come. I get out of the car. This is not how I want to win. Today I can become the first British world champion ever. But this is not the way I would like it to be. So I won’t become it. End of story. My time will come.

I walk to Juan Manuel. He looks at me in surprise. “Get in”, I say. “You drive on. And you’re going to take that world title. My time will come.” He doesn’t hesitate for a moment. He walks to my car, gets in, and drives away.

My time will come.

Monza, 2nd of September 1956, Italy. I compete for the world championship today. My opponent? Juan Manuel Fangio, my Argentinean teammate and three-time world champion. It is the era in which many racing drivers die every year, even in the pinnacle of motorsport; Formula One. And today I can become world champion Formula One. The race is going well, but my teammate Fangio is on his way to the title. Until his car breaks down after thirty laps.

My time will come. I am suddenly in second position, with which I can take the world title with one point difference. But I don’t want to win that way. I don’t want to win because someone else is out of luck. I don’t want to be a champion like that. Four laps after Fangio drops out, I enter the pit lane for my pit stop.

I don’t drive away anymore. If I want I can pass my car on to a teammate. Then we share the points at the finish, fifty-fifty. Fangio has taken over the wheel from me and is on his way to the championship. No one can threaten him anymore. Only I can take the title from him. But I don’t want to, not this way. Fangio wins his fourth world championship. Stirling Moss wins the race and finishes second in the championship. I finish in third place in the rankings. My time will come.

Juan Manuel Fangio would take his fifth and final world championship in 1957, after which he ends his racing career. A record that would only be matched in 2002 by Michael Schumacher, and would be broken by him in 2003. And I, Peter Collins, my name will be remembered forever. Because my time will come.

Nordschleife, 3rd of August 1958, Germany. I won the previous race, two weeks ago at Silverstone. Today is a 15-lap race on the longest and most dangerous track in the world. I’m second behind Tony Brooks, trying everything to overtake him. But it goes wrong. I lose control of the car. The Ferrari flies into the air, and I fly out of the car. I, Peter Collins, will never become a world champion. My name will never be in the history books. All people will remember is how I gave my car and thus my world championship to Fangio.

After flying out of the car, I hit a tree.

I die on the way to the hospital in Bonn. Fatal head injuries. 26 years old.

My time will co…


Footnotes:

  • Koen Vergeer: Pole Position: De 10 grootste wereldkampioenen uit de Formule 1 (2013) | (Pole Position: The 10 greatest Formula One world champions (Dutch only), p. 50-53. The chapter that talks about Collins can only be about one man.. Fangio. Vergeer mentions two quotes from Collins in this: “I don’t want to beat Fangio because of bad luck on his part” and “My time will come” (both p. 51). On p. 53 Vergeer refers during a story about the 1957 Grand Prix of Germany to the fact that Collins will have a fatal accident on that circuit a year later, where he also speaks about “his time will come”.

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