Moises Solana (1935-1969) was a Mexican racing driver who recorded eight starts in the Formula 1 World Championship between 1963 and 1968, including six appearances in the Mexican Grand Prix and two starts in the US Grand Prix.
Outside F1, Solana participated in sports car races occasionally, scoring few wins in Mexico and the US. He lost a life during a hillclimb race in Mexico in July 1969. The Solana family is still active in motorsport, manufacturing race cars under the banner of Scuderia Solana.
Racing in a Dodge at 1954 Carrera Panamericana
Born in December 1935, Moises Solana Arciniega started his racing career in the mid-1950s, as a member of a family who built race cars since 1936.
His name appeared on the international scene for the first time in November 1954 when he took part in the last edition of the Carrera Panamericana road race. He and Enrique Doblado were sharing the #208 Dodge V8, finishing 32nd overall and sixth in TS class.
Moises Solana was driving the #13 car at 1963 Mexican Grand Prix
Formula One debut at 1963 Mexican Grand Prix
After many years in different competitions with different cars, Moises Solana tried his luck for the first time in Formula One in October 1963. He participated in the Mexican Grand Prix at Magdalena Mixhuca circuit, on a location of current Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
He started 11th on the grid and was classified 11th at the end of the race, in the #13 BRM P57 of Scuderia Centro Sud. He was the first driver in the history of Formula 1 to start a race in a number 13 car.
Moises Solana in a Cooper-Maserati at 1966 Mexican Grand Prix
Tenth place as the best Formula 1 result
A year later, on the same circuit, Solana raced in the Mexican Grand Prix in the #17 Lotus 33-Climax. He finished the race in the tenth place, two laps behind race winner Dan Gurney (Brabham). It remained Solana's best result in Formula 1.
In 1965, Solana recorded two starts in Formula 1 at the wheel of Lotus 25-Climax. He drove the #18 car in the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, finishing in 12th place. Three weeks later, he was driving the #18 Lotus in his third Mexican Grand Prix, not finishing the race.
Moises Solana in the #18 Lotus at 1967 Mexican Grand Prix
Last Formula 1 start at 1968 Mexican Grand Prix
In 1966, Solana changed machinery, participating in the Mexican Grand Prix in the #9 Cooper T81-Maserati. It was a short race for him because he stopped after just nine laps with an overheated engine.
In 1967, Solana returned to a cockpit of a Lotus, driving the #18 Lotus 49-Cosworth in the US Grand Prix and Mexican Grand Prix. He retired in both races. Solana recorded his last F1 start in the 1969 Mexican Grand Prix, driving the #12 Lotus 49B-Cosworth and retiring after 14 laps.
Moises Solana in the #99 McLaren
Victory in the Mexican round of the US Road Racing Championship
Parallel to his occasional F1 commitments, Solana participated in sports car races between 1966 and 1968, driving a Lola T70-Chevrolet or McLaren M6B-Chevrolet in the US Road Racing Championship and some non-championship events. He won Mexico City-Puebla road race and Cuernavaca race in December 1967, driving a Lola.
In March 1968, he scored his first and only USRRC victory, driving the #99 McLaren M6B at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Later in the season, he gained one more good result, finishing fifth in the USRRC race at Riverside.
A plate on the place of Solana's death
Losing a life in a crash at hillclimb race
Moises Solana's career and life came to a premature end in July 1969. He lost life in an accident during the hillclimb race Valle de Bravo – Bosencheve in Mexico, driving a McLaren.
Solana family is still involved in motorsport, continuing to built exclusive race cars until today.