drive like Fangio !" is a short expression that has survived
in French language. If it is applied to you, It means you drive like
a madman. However, if you know who was Juan Manuel Fangio, the judgement
would appear unfair. An intrepid man, king of the powerslide and skid-steering
indeed, but an intelligent and prudent man nevertheless.
To be truly fair one should rather say "You drive like Farina
!" The italian pilot, team mate of Fangio with Alfa Romeo was
really a hotheaded racer. About him Fangio said : "Farina is
somebody I'm respecting but not admiring. Nino Farina really drives
like mad, trusting the protection by the Madonna, but he should realize
that the Madonna may occasionnally be unavailable !" Fangio had
one major crash only in his seven year's carreer ; with 24 victories
from 52 Grand Prix races, and five championship tittles.
When the Maestro started a race, the odds of him winning were even
! Really staggering. Below follow some passages on the life of Fangio
for a further lightning of the greatest gentleman driver.
1950 : a bright and carefull champion
Monte carlo in 1950 Fangio and farina rocket away from their front-row
starting slots, the Argentine gaining the advantage on the first
lap. on his second lap, Fangio bursts out of the tunnel into the
sunlight and along the quay toward the sharp left at the tobacconist's
shop. Glancing up at the crowd overlooking the quay the race leader
notices something odd : they aren't looking at him ! His thoughts
flash back to a day earlier when he was looking through a photo
album at the Monaco Auto club. He saw pictures of the 1936 race
in which some cars skidded and crashed on just the quay he is now
approaching at 100 miles per hour.
Fangio brakes hard to a stop before the left turn. Around it, previously
hidden from his view by the balustrade, are nine crashed Grand Prix
cars. On his first lap Nino Farina skidded on a freshly wetted surface
and eight others folowing him crashed into him and each other, fortunately
without great personal injury. The road is blocked, but Fangio spot
a chance. If one car can be moved he can get by. He drives up to
it and pushes its tyre by hand, rolling it enough to clear space
for his Alfa. From that manoeuvre it is a clear run to a victorious
race of the maestro's life : Nurbürgring 1957
manuel Fangio is the first driver winning five Grand Prix championships
: in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1957.
In a legendary race at the Nurbürgring he took his last title.
He owed the victory to his driving skills after the chosen strategy
He drove a Maserati 250 F and his main adversaries, were Peter Collins
and mike Hawthorn, both with Ferraris.
Fangio knew he had to make a pit stop for tyre change during the
race, while the Ferraris could do without. So he took just enough
fuel to make it to the stop. His lighter car should allow him to
build a considerable advance. the advance was 30 seconds when he
made the pit stop on lap 12 ; however, the break lasted 52 seconds
and Collins and Hawthorn took the lead. On lap twenty Fangio had
bridged the gap but for two seconds, beating the lap record several
times. he passed Collins and then Hawthorn and crossed the line
3,6 seconds ahead.
After the end of the race he said he hoped to never again win a
race in that way !
Kling's testimony about Juan manuel Fangio
the name Fangio is mentioned, for me he was one of the greatest
drivers of those days, and one of the most congenial and fair !
A good colleague and a principled sportsman. Few were quite so fait
as fangio.I was in a position to experience that. Few were as open
and above-board as fangio was at that time.
In Argentina Juan Perón himself was a fan of motorsport.
he provided a great deal of support for fangio. After he took note
of him in the beginning (Fangio had his own private Grand Premio
Standard Chevrolet, which is what made him great in the first place)
recognized very early that fangio was a great talent, and supported
I came into contact with fangio fairly frequently in the sport.
Once, for example, I was faster than him at the Nüburgring.
Fangio immediately move aside. he didn't defend his position or
anything like that. twice at monza I was faster than him at certain
places - And he moved over. I can't say the same of many others.
Fangio remarked : "We came up against each other a few times."Perhaps
at such moments I had a bit better engine ; that could well be.
purely from a driving standpoint he was better, that's all there
was to it. that's why I won't hear a word said aginst him. that's
why I'm honest about him.
Many opportunities came that way. Sometimes I had a slightly better
engine ; engine performance was scattered over a broader range then.
they were not at all the same. When I got into the car I could tell
immediately : "You've got a good engine" or "you've
got a bad engine".
Fangio didn't notice this. Because fangio was actually not that
well versed technically. He sat in the car and was satisfied with
it. He never said, "I'd prefer different shock absorbers for
this course, or a different gear ratio". Fangio got in the
car and drove it...
However, Fangio was the faster. He could always pull out a few more
stops. from time to time it was stated accurately enough that he
could powerslide. Earlier this had always been his objective.
I'm not a powersliding driver, nor I am an advocate of such technique.
I think that a clean, smooth lap brings me better results. But Fangio
- at the extremity - could control a powerslide that was colossal.
And he mastered it right to the ultimate limit.
Personally as a driver I profited a great deal from him. Frequently
I found myself driving behind him ; when that happened I watched
his technique. I wanted to learn somthing for him. It was a unique
experience - and rarely hazardous.
I can state quite confidently that fangio and i were close friends.
there is scarcely a driver - and I know a great many - whom I learned
to esteem more than Juan Manuel fangio. Also a friend and comrade.
Other stories :
1950 : The Hotel "beau rivage in background"
with his typical blue domes painted by : Benjamin Freudenthal -
28 x 20 inches print
avalaible ! ( limited edition : 600 copies)
Click on the picture !
and farina rocket away from their front-row starting slots, the
Argentine gaining the advantage on the first lap".
and Collins exchanges worried gestures when they see the maestro
getting closer and closer, beating the lap record several times
! (painting : Michael Turner)
Start od the Nurbürgring Grand Prix in 1957. Hawthorn is leading,
just ahead of Peter Collins
race is finished.
Hawthorn in his Ferrari, on the right, very "fair play"
accompain the maestro for a victory lap.
fangio gets his fifth and
last champion tittle.
Kling and Fangio