Herbert Mackay-Fraser

The Formula 1 world is full of stories of what might have been if circumstances had been a little different. Herbert Mackay-Fraser is a good example of that. The son of an American businessman who owned a coffee plantation in Brazil, Mackay-Fraser was born in Connecticut in 1927. He want to Europe in 1955 and raced his own Ferrari Monza. This led to the opportunity of racing for Colin Chapman's Lotus organisation in small-capacity sports cars in 1956 and 1957.

He made his Grand Prix debut at the 1957 French Grand Prix at Rouen a fortnight after his 30th birthday. He was standing in for Roy Salvadori at BRM after the Englishman switched across to Vanwall. Vanwall's drivers, Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks, were both out of action: Moss with a sinus infection and Brooks as a result of a crash at Le Mans. Mackay-Fraser was running sixth behind the Maseratis and the Lancia-Ferraris for the first part of the race when his transmission failed. It had been a very promising F1 debut.

A week later he went to Reims to race a stripped down Lotus 11 sports car in the Formula 2 race but crashed at high speed and was killed, becoming the first fatality for the factory Lotus team.