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Fangio! Greatest Driver of All Time.....

Discussion in 'Other Racing' started by Tspringer, Jan 22, 2004.

  1. Tspringer

    Tspringer F1 Veteran

    Apr 11, 2002
    6,155
    Schumacher who? Give me JMF any day!

    Here is a story I remember reading many years back about Fangio. Just one of many, this one from Stirling Moss.

    In 1955 Moss of coarse joined the Mercedes factory team. He was young, at his prime and clearly VERY fast. Moss had been racing at the top level for only a few years, but had never really felt he had the car to truely show what he was capable of. Finally, at Mercedes he would have the best machinery possible. NOW he would show how good he really was.....

    Moss indeed did well..... but he quickly realised that his teammate was something special. The reality of the master/student situation at Mercedes hit him at Spa.

    In the GP, as would become customary in '55, the 2 Mercedes quickly ran away from everyone else. "The Train".... Fangio followed closely by Moss. Moss was not far behind, and felt that if he pushed a bit harder he could perhaps overtake Fangio and take the lead. So he began to brake later, and try to carry more speed through the high speed sweepers. He did not gain. Then he noticed something strange.

    Fangio was at certain points waving a hand outside the car, making some gestures. Coming off certain corners and even while going through some corners. Moss watched this curiously. Then it hit him. Fangio was watching Moss in his mirrors and was giving some input on Moss's change in line. Fangio, will leading the GP, while staying in front of Moss despite all his efforts in an identical car, was able to spare enough concentration to actually watch Moss in his mirror and offer opinions on his driving line.

    It was at this point that Moss realised Fangio was indeed the Master and he was the Student.

    I think Moss could have won a world title in the mid 1950s if Fangio had not been there. No question Moss was one of the greatest drivers of all time. But when fate puts your career in parrellel with a Fangio..... history may be beyond your control!

    Who else out there is a Fangio fan?


    Terry
     
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  3. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

    Nov 20, 2002
    17,673
    Tauranga, NZ
    Full Name:
    Pete
    Yes I am a Fangio fan, but like all legends they get bigger over time.

    Even regarding that story one has to remember that most racing drivers of that time where gentleman drivers and did not become racing drivers because of their skill. Even Stirling Moss was priviledged and definitely started racing due to his financial position.

    So yes Fangio was a very, very good driver and so was Stirling (I say was because he is way past his prime) but Stirling was still very much becoming a professional driver, and until Mercedes had really being playing the rich playboy type driver role very well :). I do not think Moss really reached his true ability until the rear engined cars, say when he drove for Walker. Thus how good was Moss at that time. Remember all the other cars were pieces of crap (clearly showed by the clean sweep by Mercedes) and Fangio was not pushed by anybody BUT Moss, and obviously not very hard to be making signals ...

    Because of the gentleman drivers providing the competition in those days and earlier it is hard to judge how really good the stars were. We know Fangio was good, as was Ascari, but how would they have faired against a grid full of professional drivers, er, that we are supposed to have now?

    Even when you go back to my all time favourite Nuvolari, his competition was made up of drivers like Enzo, who on his own admission was pretty average and the fact that Nuvolari was the inventor of the 4 wheeled drift shows that he was the first to actually really DRIVE the car, instead of just steering ...

    It is all very complicated and the best always bubbles up to the top, but I believe that there are many, many real natural talents that never, ever had a chance to show their skill due to circumstances or even the country they were born in. Fangio was lucky that Argentina had the dirt road racing races to demonstrate his skills and then Argentina were looking for a local hero and helped make the huge step ...

    Unfortunately we cannot compare all ages and put them in their rightfull places but instead we compare the legends as best we can ...

    Pete
     
  4. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
    Sponsor Owner

    Sep 3, 2002
    5,443
    Toronto / SoCal
    Full Name:
    Rob C.
    I could go on for hours about Fangio. I always rate the top drivers of different eras and formulae in one group as it is impossible to make accurate comparisions. Fangio was very very special and his performances and racing statistics are likely never to be equalled. I am a HUGE Fangio fan and it is only now that his wc record has been broken that many are talking of him again and many newer fans are learning of the man. A few months back Gerald Donaldson released a new book on Fangio and it is a MUST READ. Once you read this book, the enormity of his talent will be beyond argument.
     
  5. atheyg

    atheyg Guest

    Fangio was an awesome driver, but what about others that never had a chance to show their potential? Jimmy Clark was so smooth and fast and the only time he lost in a competitive car was when something broke.

    How about Villeneuve? Ascari?
     
  6. jj2728

    jj2728 Karting

    Jan 19, 2004
    194
    Ontario
    i've always liked fangio.....simply superb and he would be in my personal top 5 drivers......the others?
    clark
    senna
    gilles villeneuve
    m. schumacher

    in no particular order....
     
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  8. Maximo_Tifoso

    Maximo_Tifoso Karting

    Jan 8, 2004
    221
    Houston TX
    Fangio will always be #1
     
  9. writerguy

    writerguy F1 Veteran

    Sep 30, 2003
    6,786
    NewRotic
    Full Name:
    Otto
    If you are really a Fangio fan Collector's Studio Motor Sports Gallery in Toronto has his LEATHER helmet mounted framed and authenticated for sale....


    http://www.collectorstudio.com ......
     
  10. Maximo_Tifoso

    Maximo_Tifoso Karting

    Jan 8, 2004
    221
    Houston TX
    Thanks for the information...I would also like to visit his museum in Balcarce, Argentina.....That would be a real treat!
     
  11. FLATOUTRACING

    FLATOUTRACING F1 Rookie

    Aug 20, 2001
    2,684
    East Coast
    Full Name:
    Jon K.
    1) Fangio and Schumacher (tied for first)
    2) Senna and Clark (tied for second)
    3) Nuvolari
    4) Andretti
    5) Stewart (Jackie)

    Don't forget two things:

    1) Fangio wouldn't have five titles if Peter Collins hadn't famously allowed Fangio to win the 1956 World championship by turning his car over during the race.

    2) I know this is a lot of coulda shoulda woulda stuff but MS could easily have had 8 or 9 Championships. Remember that he lost two titles on the last race of the season and likely would have won the year he broke his legs at Silverstone.

    Regards,

    Jon P. Kofod
    www.flatoutracing.net
     
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  13. ChrisfromRI

    ChrisfromRI Karting

    Jan 28, 2003
    230
    Foster, RI
    Full Name:
    Chris F
    You must realize of course that Fangio was known by his colleagues as "The Bull", because he was so very hard on the cars, often causing them to fall apart around him.

    Of course it would be hard to be as fast as Fangio was without being at least a little tough on the equipment...

    Kind Regards, Chris
     
  14. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
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    Sep 3, 2002
    5,443
    Toronto / SoCal
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    Rob C.
    Chris I believe the 'bull' was Froilan Gonzales. Fangio in fact had an incredible mechanical sympathy and his ability to nurse a broken car was legendary.
     
  15. Senna1994

    Senna1994 F1 World Champ

    Nov 11, 2003
    12,802
    San Clemente
    Full Name:
    Anthony Tonokaboni
    Gonzalez, who is still alive was given the name of the Pampas Bull (mostly because he was built like one). The notion of Fangio being hard on equipment is a joke the man won 24 GP's from 52 races he started. He had great Mechanical sympathy for the cars he drove. In addition as Nuvolari said he could bring home a broken down car much better than the other racers of his time. I wonder though what Fangio's record would have been had Ascari not died, the Lancia-Ferrari's were incredible cars and so was Ascari. The same could be said of Ayrton Senna had he not died, look at the Williams cars during 95-97. The 94 Williams was not an easy car when it debuted yet Senna won the first 3 poles through talent (look at his qualifying speed compared to Hill in the same car). Perhaps Senna should have been the first 6 times Champion but we will never know.

    Earlier there was mentioned the talent of drivers from Different Eras I personally believe that the greatest depth of Talent in F1 history was during the Turbo Era. Right now we have only one F1 Champion racing that is it. But lets look at 1985 when we had Lauda, Prost, Senna, Piquet, Mansell, Rosberg, the talent at that time in my opinion was the greatest Era in the most difficult cars except for the 30's.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  16. joopjoldersma

    joopjoldersma Formula Junior

    Dec 6, 2003
    364
    Holland
    Full Name:
    Joop Joldersma
    I have been a fan of the '50's drivers. But my "hero" has been and really still is Alberto Ascari.
    He was the first Ferrari world champion (he did it 2 years in a row). He was also the winner of the first grand prix race (Formula 2 in '52 and '53) I ever saw (gives you an indication as to my age); on Zandvoort, Holland (2 and 3 were also Ferrari's).

    The problem as to the "best" driver is how to compare them. They never drove together and times were totally different. I think there is a group of great drivers and the best one is the one YOU like the best. I e.g. have never been a Senna fan, so for me he is not the best one ever.

    But does it really matter as long as we enjoy racing. I am sure after Schumacher there will be an other "best" driver and the discussion will repeat itself and keep on going.

    Joop
     
  17. Gilles27

    Gilles27 F1 World Champ

    Mar 16, 2002
    13,337
    Ex-Urbia
    Full Name:
    Jack
    And how many titles would Senna have won had he not died? Clark? Cevert? It's pointless to compare, although it can make for some interesting dialogue. While it might be easy for the legend of a Fangio to grow over time, it's even easier for those of other drivers to fade with time. We all have our own emotional favorites, but it's important to remember all of them and how incredible they were.
     
  18. Papa G

    Papa G Formula 3

    Dec 29, 2003
    1,378

    Especiially when you consider some of the machines they were in. I just love seeing the old photographs showing these drivers with nothing but a helmet that can double as a wallet and a uniform that would'nt be out of place considered as casual dress (re: collared shirt)

    Papa G
     
  19. ChrisfromRI

    ChrisfromRI Karting

    Jan 28, 2003
    230
    Foster, RI
    Full Name:
    Chris F
    Believe what you like, and certainly be happy.

    The nickname of "the Bull", as pertaining to being tough on the equipment, was mentioned to me by the son of a recently departed driving colleague of Fangio. His father was a test driver from that era, an insider. I feel the source is credible, but you certainly don't have to agree.

    As I had mentioned earlier, there would be no way to be so fast without being at least a little tough on the equipment.

    Kind Regards, Chris
     

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