Juan Manuel Fangio (1911 – 1995) was a race car driver from Argentina who dominated the first decade of Formula One racing. He won five Formula One World Driver’s Championships, with four different teams (Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Maserati), a feat that has not been repeated since. Many consider Fangio to be the greatest driver of all time. His record of five Formula One World Driver’s Championships stood for 46 years eventually beaten by Michael Schumacher.
Unlike today’s Formula One drivers, Fangio raced in a period without television coverage of his achievements. Fortunately for racing fans, video of Fangio does exist on YouTube and other online sources, including the following video of Fangio driving a “Ferrari 2500” in Monte Carlo.
The 3:17 film, shot on the racing circuit within the empty streets of Monaco, is extremely well done, with excellent sound and multiple camera angles befitting a more modern video. The “Ferrari 2500” is clearly the Lancia-Ferrari D50 that Fangio drove to the Formula One World Championship in 1956 or one of its brothers of course.
Judging by the cars parked on the street, we estimate that the video was done in the late ‘60s or early ‘70s, making Fangio approximately 60 years old during filming. That doesn’t stop the “the legend” from giving the D50 quite a workout, complete with power oversteer out of the Grand Hotel hairpin.
The video changes pace at the 1:17 minute mark, although the footage is still tremendous as are the shots of Fangio using his hands to express his driving style.
I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did. I was not alive do see Fangio drive, but it must have been something special. If you ask those that did, many to this day say he was the best ever.
What do you think? Who has been the best ever Formula 1 racing driver?