'Ferrari: Race to Immortality'

Discussion in 'Vintage (thru 365 GTC4)' started by Doug Nye, Nov 4, 2017.

  1. 635CSI

    635CSI Formula Junior
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    Ok Old Bean, I agree with most of your thoughts on Hawthorn. I just don’t see the English obsession with him that you refer too.
    Colllins obviously saw something in him that he liked though.

    No Ferrari and Vettel didn’t deserve to win this year but I hope they do next year.
     
  2. Bluebottle

    Bluebottle Formula 3
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    I strongly suspect that Collins, for one, would have disagreed with that statement.
     
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  3. Bluebottle

    Bluebottle Formula 3
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    My DVD arrived today and I have just watched it - great film. Thanks, Doug.
     
  4. wbaeumer

    wbaeumer F1 Veteran
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    I am pretty sure that even Hawthorn himself would have disagreed with such a statement coming from a German..:)
     
  5. amerikalei

    amerikalei Rookie

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    Somewhat off topic for Mr. Nye: will there ever be a final volume to the extensive BRM history? I've enjoyed vols 1-3 but would love to learn more about the era from Pedro Rodriguez through Niki Lauda's times with the team.
     
  6. Doug Nye

    Doug Nye Karting
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    There is nothing humble about your opinion Walter. There is instead an awful lot there that appears to demonstrate simple ignorance.

    I am surprised to see you self-generate so much heat about Mike Hawthorn and his true contemporary stature.

    I was a Moss fan but, living in Guildford barely 12 miles from Hawthorn's home town of Farnham, I also had great regard for him - especially when I heard that he had won the 1953 French GP (for Ferrari), and then the 1954 French GP (for Ferrari). While it is true to say that there are a number of later-generation Hawthorn fans who have magnified his stature this is not particularly the case so far as the contemporary British press were concerned. Indeed, a large segment of the British national press expended much ink vilifying him in period for being fit enough to drive for the Italian Ferrari team - from a recent enemy nation - while apparently avoiding being drafted for National Service (Army, Navy or Air Force) due to being notionally unfit. The truth was that since he suffered from a potentially life-limiting kidney condition, he was indeed unfit for such service.

    Mike's troubled family background, competitive upbringing and a sequence of terrible tragedies which shaped his young life and affected his true maturity left him a strange mixture of English middle-class bonhomie, an extrovert, fun-loving, womanising, hard-drinking, roustabout bundle of fun - and an often much darker, sometimes uncaring hooligan who knew no proper bounds to his behaviour. And when he was in kidney trouble his fuse was even shorter and his idea of what was fun, or funny or entertaining often left a trail of hurt people in his wake. In contrast, certainly, there is abundant evidence that Peter Collins was an infinitely more pleasant young man, more consistently, than Mike ever learned to be.

    Now - Le Mans. Anyone who has ever sat in or driven a Longnose D-Type in 1955 cockpit trim will confirm that its rearview mirror arrangements were pathetically inadequate. An auxiliary mirror was added for Le Mans, but design thinking was that the cars would be passing the Hun - as 'Lofty' England (and Hawthorn) referred to Mercedes-Benz - and not vice versa. At high speed those mirrors vibrate with such intensity that very little can really be seen in them. Where Lance Macklin's injured standpoint is concerned he seemingly became increasingly obsessive over the whole tragic incident as more time passed. For many within British motor racing his testimony was even more self-interested and suspect than anything Hawthorn ever said - which wasn't much. Yet Macklin was himself a highly respected contemporary figure. A scenario which worked is that Hawthorn did cut in abruptly in front of Macklin's Healey after lapping it on the approach to the pit area. Having just been overtaken by Hawthorn's leading Jaguar - as he expected to be - the experienced Macklin would surely have looked in his own, relatively effective, Austin-Healey mirrors to see where the rest of the leading bunch were closing rapidly behind him. Looking back up to check the path ahead he would instantly have found - to his horror - that Hawthorn was braking hard to stop in the pit lane. There was a widespread feeling amongst British friends, acquaintances and supporters of both drivers that Macklin reacted understandably violently - to that situation, but simply overdid it by dodging too far left to avoid the Jaguar's tail. In fact he passed from the right-hand lane far into the left-hand lane in avoidance, which is where the Healey was struck from behind by the hapless 'Levegh' in the 300SLR. From that instant the trajectories of the Mercedes-Benz and the Austin-Healey were decided by the brutal physics of the situation. And all those poor people died. And all those poor people were injured. Had the road been wider, had the track-edge featured any run-off verge, that horrific situation would not have assumed such grotesque proportions with such a ghastly outcome. Movie of Hawthorn post-race show a race winner solemn between smiles for the camera. Still photos of Hawthorn post-race show a race winner smiling for 1/250th of a second or so.

    'Lofty' England and Hawthorn of Jaguar really did detest the Germans from wartime experience, and triumphant youth. Moss was regarded by some Brits as the part-Jewish turncoat who had gone to join Mercedes-Benz for the money. What I would regard as 'proper' motor racing Brits admired all these guys for having earned the interest of the great 'crack' Continental factory teams. As I recall from period we fans just revered Moss, Hawthorn, Collins, Brooks, Lewis-Evans and the rest as superstar Men from Mars who were driving the finest racing cars in the world, from Ferrari, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz...whoever. And the knowledgeable British enthusiast thought just as highly - I promise you - of Fangio, Castellotti, Musso, de Portago - they were Racing Drivers, Special People, Warriors all. In my view to vilify any one of them for some dopey reason of personal bias leaves the critic diminished - not the driver in question.

    DCN
     
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  8. Peter Tabmow

    Peter Tabmow Formula Junior

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    Doug, your last post shows that your empathy matches your unquestioned erudition.
     
  9. wbaeumer

    wbaeumer F1 Veteran
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    Doug,

    you more confirm the rather strange behaviour of Hawthorn than I did.
    I never denied that Hawthorn was not a good race driver - but I am truly convinced that Fangio and Moss were better...and faster! Not to mention Castellotti and De Portago who troubled even Fangio in two races.
    There will be endless discussions about what happened in Le Mans 1955. But people who were there (!) accaused Hathrorn for being the reason of the tragedy.
    And I very much doubt that you are defending the victorious Hawthorn drinking champagne after 82 dead bodies had been removed the day before and 200 meters away....
    Whatever the demons were in Hawthorns personality, in his past and due to his weak physical constitution - he was not a nice person.
    So he should not deserve a status as a glorified hero in any media today...

    Ciao!
    Walter
     
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  10. Doug Nye

    Doug Nye Karting
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    The truth is that in 1955 - just ten years after bloody war - attitudes to disaster and mayhem were VERY different then. Think back now to 2007. How fresh does that year now seem? And I have never claimed that Hawthorn was a cuddly bundle of joy per se. As for post-race Le Mans celebration it was relatively muted despite selective use of movie and stills since - and 21st Century western reflexes when imagining such a situation are simply inapplicable.

    Overall I happily differ - leaving it to others to judge which of our opinions might be better founded.

    Back now, perhaps, to the current movie? :cool:

    DCN
     
  11. 635CSI

    635CSI Formula Junior
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    Doug , great analysis above.
    I have the film coming for Christmas, your thoughts outlined here will help me enjoy it even more.

    I'm slightly younger than you or the heroes of the mid 50's but I remember how real the war was, all my parents and their friends had fought or served.
    For some it was the best time, for others the worse. Everything in that time should be viewed through that prism.

    In a way we motor racing fans , thrilled by Italian and German cars (and those who drove them) were the new internationalists, looking forward not back.
     
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  12. Bluebottle

    Bluebottle Formula 3
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    Spot on!

    Brilliant - enjoyed it immensely! :D:D:D
     
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  13. miurasv

    miurasv F1 Veteran
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    #37 miurasv, Dec 1, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
    Great insight into these brave men and what a philosopher Enzo Ferrari was. I particularly liked the de Portago audio which was very interesting and for me what he said actually underlined the tragedy that it was a race to mortality, not immortality. He wanted so much to live, the life that he had.
     
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  15. swift53

    swift53 F1 Rookie
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    Can someone kindly direct me to a seller of the DVD in the USA, as all I find is UK.

    Of course, no criticism implied to anything , or anybody ;)

    Regards, Alberto
     
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  16. 375+

    375+ F1 Rookie
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    +1 yes me too.
     
  17. tomberlin

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    Is the CD available in US format? There is a difference between Europe and US format, correct?
     
  18. trashidelek!

    trashidelek! Formula Junior

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    I, for one, found it to be absolutely excellent. And, believe me, I would have been more than happy to be critical of this film, given that I would very nearly like to choke you over the timeline for Inside Track. At the end of the day, though, it is what it is. And, in this case, it is very good indeed...
     
  19. trashidelek!

    trashidelek! Formula Junior

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    Go to Amazon, buy a "multi region, zone free" DVD player, and never worry about this artificial nonsense again.
     
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  20. tomberlin

    tomberlin Formula Junior
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    Thanks! I was not aware such a thing existed
     
  21. kare

    kare F1 Rookie
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    Fully agree, one should not accept just anything just because it was long time ago and all that nonsense.
     
  22. swift53

    swift53 F1 Rookie
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    So, no sale in the USA? baffling.

    Regards, Alberto
     

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