The last year of the 2.5 litre formula produced repeat victories for Jack Brabham and Cooper, and saw Lotus, Porsche, and BRM campaigning rear-engined cars. Lance Reventlow's Scarabs, like the Aston Martins, were front-engined and outclassed. Stirling Moss' Rob Walker Lotus gave Colin Chapman his first Grand Prix win at Monaco and followed it with a victory in the USA. All other Grands Prix went to Cooper, except for the Italian which was boycotted by the British constructors since the Italians were using Monza's banked circuit.
The points-scoring system was changed with the point for fastest lap being dropped and a point given for sixth place. The best six scores counted towards the championship, increased from five from the previous season.
It was the last World Drivers' Championship to include the Indianapolis 500, and the last season which saw a victory for a front-engined car in a World Drivers' Championship race.
Three drivers died in this season of Grand Prix racing. American Harry Schell in a non-championship race at Silverstone, and Britons Chris Bristow & Alan Stacey, both killed at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. Stirling Moss was severely injured in a practice accident at this event and did not compete for most of the season.
The German Grand Prix was run as a Formula 2 race at the Nurburgring Sudschleife because the Formula One race, originally supposed to be held at the AVUS Berlin circuit, was cancelled after drivers complained about the extreme danger of the Berlin-located track. The Moroccan Grand Prix, originally scheduled for 1 October, was cancelled for another year for monetary reasons.
The teams came down to Argentina from Europe in February to start the 1960 season having competed at the last round of the 1959 championship in Sebring, Florida in the United States only 2 months previously. Stirling Moss was on pole position in Buenos Aires in his Rob Walker Cooper-Climax with Team Lotus driver Innes Ireland alongside, although he had been 1.6 seconds slower in qualifying. Completing the four-man front row were the BRMs of Hill and Jo Bonnier. The Lotus team had come out with an all-new mid-engined car, the 18, and were expected to be competitive.
At the start Ireland made a fantastic start and had a good lead at the end of the first lap over Bonnier, Graham Hill and Phil Hill (no relation to Graham), who had started from the second row in his Ferrari Dino 246. Moss made a poor start and was eighth at the end of the first lap. On the second lap Ireland spun, and as he was doing this Moss was driving a blinding lap, passing the Cooper of Carlos Menditeguy, Froilan Gonzalez's Ferrari, Jack Brabham's Cooper, P Hill's Ferrari and Ireland's Lotus to run third behind G Hill and Bonnier. Moss passed Hill on lap 10 and took the lead from Bonnier five laps later. The recovering Ireland also made dramatic progress, passing Brabham and G Hill to run third on lap 18. Bonnier attacked Moss for the lead and retook it on lap 21 but 15 laps later Stirling was back ahead. On lap 42 he went out with a broken suspension. Bonnier was left nearly a lap ahead of everyone. Ireland was promoted to second but both G Hill and Brabham retired and so Bruce McLaren was third. With 12 laps to go Bonnier suffered engine trouble and Ireland went into the lead only to have his gear-linkage jam and so he too slipped back leaving McLaren to win. Cliff Allison was second for Ferrari while Moss took over Maurice's Trintigant's car to take third.