On October 30, 1906, Giuseppe Farina was born in Turin. The Italian entered the history of motorsport as he was the first driver to win a pole, to win a Grand Prix, but above all to become World Champion in Formula 1. Giuseppe, known as Nino, is the son of the industrialist Giovanni, owner of the Stabilimenti Farina company, while his uncle Battista will become the founder of Pininfarina. Precisely in those factories, the young Giuseppe falls in love with the noise of engines and the beauty of cars, and decides that his future will not be like some of his brothers, destined for work in the factory, but on the track.
While taking his law degree, in 1925 Giuseppe made his debut in the world of racing by participating in the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo at the wheel of a Chibiri, but due to an accident he did not reach the finish line. Unlike what happens to any runner, the turning point for Giuseppe will not be immediate: the youngster will have to wait a good eight years. It was 1933 when Bindo Maserati, who had heard of him, invited him to drive one of his cars in Modena. Farina does not miss the opportunity and marks better times than those of Tazio Nuvolari, who is impressed by that young man and decides to take him under his wing, advising him to have a less aggressive driving, a factor that will become his brand factory for the rest of his career.
Thanks also to the suggestions of his compatriot, Nino won third place in the Princess Cup in 1933, aboard an Alfa Romeo, and the following year he repeated himself in the Giro d'Italia. Performances that confirm to Nuvolari that he was right: the Mantuan therefore decides to propose to Enzo Ferrari to hire the driver from Turin for the Mille Miglia. Ferrari immediately understood why Tazio recommended this young man to him, given that on his 1936 debut at the Mille Miglia he not only crossed the line in second place, but was only thirty-two seconds behind his team-mates Brivio/Ongaro. Three months later, Nino participates in the 24 Hours of Spa, but retires during the race: however, this does not prevent him in 1937 from confirming that the result of the previous year at the Mille Miglia was not an episode, and in the subsequent edition he places second again, behind Pintacuda and Mambelli. Twenty days later comes the first victory in the Princess Cup. As a compliment, at the end of the race Nuvolari sends this message to Nino via telegraph:
"Having won the car with master experience, confirming himself as the ace I predicted when I first knew your skills. Bravo brave comrade, your rival was the time trial. I am sure of other affirmations that I await for Italian motoring".
This statement is followed by the disappointment of his retirement during the 1938 Mille Miglia, but Nino redeems himself at Pontedecimo-Giovi by winning his first career victory, and finishing second in the Italian Grand Prix of the European Speed Championship. In 1939 will be a difficult year due to the reliability problems affecting the new Alfa. For this reason, Nino retires to the Libyan coast and the Liege Grand Prix, but as soon as he has the opportunity in the three races of the Antwerp Grand Prix he wins two wins, and gets a second place. Sadly though, this will remain his last claim for several years. In 1940, Nino disputed only one race.
In fact, the second war conflict is now about to break out, and Farina will only participate in the Mille Miglia, where he sees the success fade again, even though he will pass the arrival of Brescia behind the BMW of Von Hanstein and Baumer. Six years will pass before Farina can return to the wheel of his 2500 SS at the Grand Prix of Nations, where he immediately demonstrates that the war has not affected his talent, climbing on the top step of the podium. In 1947 Nino changes team. Ferrari, which after the collaboration with Alfa opened Auto Avio Costruzioni, hires the Turin driver to compete in the Piacenza Grand Prix, but a technical problem will prevent him from reaching the finish line.
In the following season, in addition to continuing his relationship with Ferrari, Nino also has the chance to drive for Maserati, with which he dominates the Monaco Grand Prix, distancing Chiron by thirty-five seconds, and Trintignant and Ascari by two laps, before repeating himself in the Grand Prix of Nations, where he won the first victory on the track for Ferrari, on the Garda circuit. In 1949 also seems to start on the right foot, as Farina wins the Lausanne Grand Prix in mid-June. But while in South America to play some races with Ferrari, Farina discovers that Alfa has decided to take a break from racing after Varzi's recent death (on July 1, 1948, during practice for the Swiss Grand Prix in Bern, in the rain, Varzi loses control of his Alfetta and overturns, losing his life) and Wimille (disappears in 1949, during the tests of the Temporada Argentina, on the Buenos Aires circuit).
When Nino seems to be one step away from retiring, since only Maserati seems to be able to sign him, since Ferrari has the whole team, not only good news arrives after difficult months, but also the definitive turning point in his career. Alfa retraces its steps and decides to work to make the Alfetta safer, while at the same time trying to improve the performance of its engine, to take part in the first Formula 1 Drivers' World Championship. Farina will be one of the drivers chosen by the Casa del Quadrifoglio to participate in this new format in which only the best five results obtained will be useful, and will have as teammates the Argentine driver Juan Manuel Fangio and Luigi Fagioli, who will immediately repay their trust. team.
The team leader is Giuseppe Farina, a champion tested by numerous successes, even if unlucky: a few weeks before the start of the championship, on March 18, 1950, in Marseille, the Turin driver is the victim of an accident that requires proper recovery, due to of a shoulder crack. Despite this, at first Nino tests his car in Monza, and then at Silverstone he confirms that he is one of the best drivers in the world, scoring the first pole position in the history of Formula 1, beating Fagioli and Fangio respectively by two and four tenths of a second; Reg Parnell, a British driver who races for Alfa Romeo for the occasion, is even more than a second behind. In the race, at the end of a heated battle between the three Alfa Romeo drivers, thanks also to the retirement of Fangio, Giuseppe Farina becomes the first winner of a Formula 1 Grand Prix, even scoring the fastest lap on that occasion.
The driver from Turin, radiant and almost with tears in his eyes for joy, is rewarded with the traditional big laurel wreath, a British tribute to the triumphs in sport. It is around 5:00 pm when, after the ceremonies, both the Royals of England and Giuseppe Farina, worried about the sea of cars on the way back to London, set off to London: just as he had gone to Silverstone in overalls, in the same way Farina leaves the circuit, and once in London he immediately goes to bed and enjoys a good sleep, since the next day he is traveling again to Turin, giving up the official celebrations.
Farina, returned to the nursing home, undergoes new treatments, despite the doctors are amazed at how he was able to compete and win, despite the fact that at Silverstone the Turin driver raced with his arm and torso tightened by bandages, succeeding in such conditions to repel any attack from teammate Fangio. The following Sunday we race in Monaco, for the second round of the World Championship, but Nino is unable to repeat himself. On the track where he gave a spectacle two years earlier, in qualifying he lost the duel with Fangio and in the race, due to an accident at the start, he left the field free to the Argentine:
"Villoresi had just passed the Argentine; I too was passing the corner; all of a sudden I felt my car touch my side and it got sideways, so much so that a González wheel still bears traces of pink paint, that is, the color of my Alfa".
The challenge with his teammate also continues in the Swiss Grand Prix. In qualifying, Farina is still forced to settle for second position, given that the poleman is again Fangio, but in the race the Argentine is forced to retire due to an engine problem: Nino takes advantage of it, who, as in Great Britain, reaches the finish line for first, ahead of Fagioli, and returns to being the leader of the world championship. The new chapter of the Farina-Fangio duel moves to Spa. The two Alfa drivers set the same time in qualifying but Nino, having been the first to record it, will start from pole. El Chueco is not there, and in the race he gives a great show of strength by winning and taking advantage of the rain that has fallen in the last minutes, while the Turin driver has to settle for fourth place as he is suffering from transmission problems.
Farina goes to France to respond to his teammate and strengthen his leadership in the world championship, but things do not go as he hopes: Fangio takes revenge in qualifying by scoring pole, with Farina second to one second and nine. In the race, thanks to a great start, the Turin driver overtook the Argentine, but at the first stop a problem with the fuel pump made him return to the track two laps late and in ninth position; after a few laps he is forced to stop again due to the same problem. But Farina did not give up and, back in the race in fifth position, behind the two now impregnable teammates, tried a desperate recovery.
The Turin driver pushes hard, sets up a series of four fast laps, and takes third place, but after only two laps he is forced to stop definitively along the way, while his rival wins his third win of the year and takes away his leadership. of the world. The last Grand Prix of the first season of Formula 1 is held in Monza, Italy. Fangio seems to be impregnable and launched towards the final victory, given that he is the poleman of the Italian Grand Prix, while Nino is also third behind Ascari's Ferrari. But luck this time turned its back on the Argentine who broke the gearbox during the first lap, and Farina took advantage not only to win the race, but above all by becoming the first World Champion in the history of Formula 1. Frenzied applause welcomed the winner grabbed by a hundred hands, decorated with flowers and carried in triumph: Fangio received the meager consolation of the fastest lap. This great battle, entered in the annals of the circus, will be commented by Nino:
"Fangio is a great champion, even if I won today. That's how it is in sport, today it's me, tomorrow it's you. If I talked to him, he would be offended and I would feel like a worm. Unfortunately in this sport there is no friendship: we are only rivals. Of course, when we meet, we hug each other, but it's all the scene. On the track we are antagonists, outside there is only the form".
The following season begins in Switzerland, and the spotlight is all on the two protagonists of 1950, with Farina starting as the man to beat and Fangio determined to take revenge. The two Alfa drivers do not betray expectations, and in qualifying they make the difference over their rivals, with the Argentine taking pole by beating his teammate. In the race the Argentine dominates, trimming one minute and nineteen seconds to Nino, who has to settle for third place, having reached the finish line following the Ferrari of compatriot Piero Taruffi. The Alfa Romeo driver will be slowed down by the visor fogged by the fumes of the burnt oil, which annoy him by limiting his visibility, and by the car's suspension which, not modified or designed to support the large initial petrol load, does not guarantee the Italian driver a correct road holding. Nino redeems himself in Belgium, after having jumped, like everyone else, the Indianapolis 500.
Having once again lost the challenge for pole with Fangio, in the race Nino manages to overtake his rival at the start, and when the Argentine suffers a problem during the pit-stop operations, he takes the opportunity to go and win his first success of 1951. This despite yet another physical injury. In fact, just a few days before moving to Belgium, returning from Belfast, where he had triumphed in another race, to avoid an imprudent motorcyclist, Nino had gone off the road in Bussoleno, suffering bruises on the back of his neck and right foot, so he he was presented limping to the Francorchamp trials.
The fourth round of the championship takes place in France. For the third Grand Prix in a row, the poleman is Fangio, but Farina, second in qualifying as at Spa, overturns the situation again in the race and is in command until the second pit stop: only new technical problems force him to give up the first position and leadership of the world championship to rival, being forced to cross the finish line in fifth position. In the race, in fact, the Alfa di Farina accuses tire problems, given that the tread of the front left comes off and wraps itself between the pin and the brake drum, forcing the Turin driver to a stop in the pits of over three minutes. When he manages to restart, Farina is in third position, but the misfortune does not subside and after seventeen laps another tread also comes off, making him lose thirty-one seconds which cost him his position in favor of Villoresi.
The Turin driver hopes to make up for it at Silverstone, where the previous year he took his first victory in the history of the circus. On the other hand, in qualifying the pole is won by González's Ferrari, who repeats and wins the next day, followed by Fangio, while Farina is forced to retire when there are fifteen laps to go due to a clutch problem. In Germany Nino sees the chances of confirming himself as World Champion finally vanish. On Saturday a Ferrari driver is again the poleman, as Ascari precedes González, Fangio and Farina. In the race, due to a further reliability problem, the Turin driver parks his Alfa along the track and abandons all dreams of glory. Giuseppe Farina, on his return to Italy, comments his doubts about the possibility of defending the title of World Champion to the newspaper La Stampa:
"I have very little chance of retaining the title. May the best and the luckiest win. Fangio too, especially since the Argentine is my teammate in Alfa Romeo. I have always said that he is a great rider, he goes very fast. I do not forget, however, that I am Italian, and from this point of view, I would prefer to hand over the deliveries to one of my compatriots, perhaps to Ascari. The title would be in excellent hands".
Farina explains, among other things, why his Alfa stopped in Germany:
"The same problem that forced me to retire at Siverstone, in the British Grand Prix on July 1st. At the Nurburgring I immediately felt, right from the first lap, that the car was not working well, but already during the tests, my mechanical performance had not satisfied. Fangio had a slightly different car, more agile and easier to maneuver. They sent it to him from Milan, when we were already in Germany. I would have liked, in my capacity as the current world champion, to drive a car like Fangio's. His car, in the tests, stopped standing on the rear wheels, against a fence, in front of a jump of about fifty meters: now he too can light a candle at the Consolata".
Then, the Alfa driver, speaking of Ferrari's rivals, tells a curious anecdote:
"González confirmed that his win at Silverstone was deserved. The Nurburgring is a very difficult test, and González finished third, with another Ferrari, as his, the one he had won, was entrusted to Ascari".
Farina then mentions his hopes and his intentions, talking about his future as a racer:
"I seem to have understood that B.R.M. would gladly grant me one of its new cars. I would also find myself placed elsewhere, but for the moment I am not moving. My battle is not yet lost, even that for the World Championship, at least in theoretical line. I would just like to see my position in the team more clearly, so I will soon have an interview with my Milanese managers".
Farina's smile partially returns to Monza, on the occasion of the Italian Grand Prix. Alfa is once again the fastest car in qualifying, as Fangio wins the challenge with his teammate. In the race, however, during the thirty-ninth lap the Argentine driver was forced to retire due to a broken piston, caused by the impoverishment of the mixture. Continuous reports are made from the Alfa Romeo pits to Farina, the only survivor of the Milanese team, to accelerate again in an attempt to recover the ground lost to the Ferraris, which in the meantime had jumped to the head. In fact, on the fifth lap Farina had lost two laps because the mechanics had tried to repair a pump failure, but when the Turin driver had left, he had been forced to stop for good just two laps later, before taking Bonetto's car during the twenty-ninth round.
The next two stops, one for the planned refuelling and another accidental, take away from the reigning World Champion any hope of reaching Ascari and González. Not even the new stops of the two Ferrari drivers, made to change the tires, are able to change positions, especially as Farina runs out of petrol, having opened a leak in the tank, arriving at the pits on momentum, with the engine off. The Alfa driver comes out with his head held high from a contest in which the elderly Milan cars give their ancient primacy to the more recently built Ferraris, and more and more reliable, finishing third at the finish line.
Nino will repeat himself in Spain, where Fangio will be crowned World Champion, despite the great scare he experienced in qualifying, since in the afternoon his car fails to support the brakes while it is launched at over 200 km/h. The Turin runner manages to maintain, even in this circumstance, that self-confidence that is characteristic of him, he does not lose control and gets along without damage. His concern with him, shortly after, is only to try to prevent the newspapers, dramatizing too much the news of a narrow escape, from alarming his family, saying that not even for a moment he doubted that he could save himself from the bad accident:
"My car was spinning at a great pace, but thanks to its excellent stability I was able to control it. Everything ended well, even if I still have to take a painting to the Consolata".
At the start, poleman Ascari precedes the Argentine driver of Alfa and Farina, fourth. But in the race, while the Ferrari driver struggles with his tires, the Argentine wins the Grand Prix and the title, while Farina is third again, closing the season in fourth place in the drivers' standings with 19 points. This will be his last Grand Prix with Alfa Romeo, given that due to the change in regulations he will decide to leave Formula 1. Enzo Ferrari to win the world championship which vanished in 1951, decides to take back the driver who was reported to him by Nuvolari, to support him with Ascari.
Farina's debut on Ferrari in the Swiss Grand Prix, which opens the 1953 World Championship, is to be framed: in fact, during qualifying, taking advantage of the absence of Fangio, who will miss the whole season due to an accident in a race held in Monza, he scored pole with a time of 2'47"5, ahead of his teammate Taruffi. In the early stages of the race, everything suggests that Farina could take his first victory with Ferrari, however the dream vanishes on lap 29, when he is betrayed by a problem with the alternator and is forced to retire. As in the previous year, at Spa Nino aims for redemption.
But soon, from this race the Turin driver must begin to resign himself to the idea that even without his historic rival Fangio, graduating again World Champion will not be easy. Absent in Bregmarten to attempt the assault on the Indianapolis 500, Ascari beat him both in qualifying, scoring pole, and in the race, giving him a gap of one minute and fifty-five seconds, forcing him to content himself with completing the double for Ferrari.
The same script is repeated in France. Ascari is the poleman and precedes Farina by over a second, who in the race fails to turn the situation in his favor, and is even dubbed by his teammate. At Silverstone, confirming the feeling with the English track, Nino seems to be able to respond to his compatriot by setting the same time as his rival and taking pole for having made the lap a few minutes earlier. Instead in the race he was overtaken at the start by Ascari, and a second pit stop due to a problem with a spark plug allowed him to cross the finish line only in sixth position, seeing the delay in the Drivers' Championship increase to fifteen points. Ascari's magical moment also continues in Germany, on the Nurburgring circuit, where he wins pole and comeback victory, while Nino has to settle for second position after suffering the shame of overtaking.
Same order of arrival in Holland, so that Ascari in Monza celebrates his first World Champion title by taking the sixth victory in a row, while Farina, despite finishing fourth, closes the season as vice World Champion with 24 points. When the fourth edition of the Formula 1 World Championship begins in mid-January 1953 in Argentina, Nino aims to take revenge. Unfortunately, things will not go like this, and if in qualifying he marks the fourth time, in the race, on the twenty-third lap, while he is engaged in a forcing in an attempt to contain Fangio's attacks, in an attempt to avoid a boy who cuts his way he loses control of the car, ending up in the crowd and investing about fifty people.
Nino Farina, who is feared injured in the leg, comes out practically unharmed from the terrible accident: the Turin driver complains only of a few bruises on one hand. In the meantime, it seems that Mrs. Farina, although accustomed to the dramatic expectations, inevitable torment of all the runners' wives, is waiting for such serious news, given that she stays by the radio for the whole day, waiting for news on the preparations and on the progress of the race. Noticing her concern, some friends gather around the lady to make her waiting for her less painful. Among these, the film actress Caterina Baratto, who performs in an unscheduled number to alleviate the pain of her friend, and sings some English and French songs with her thin, very polite voice.
Subsequently, Mrs. Farina goes to the headquarters of the newspaper La Stampa to look for quick news on her husband's race, and from our newspaper she discovers both the accident and the satisfactory conditions in which Giuseppe got out of the devastated car. At first the lady she fears that a more bitter truth was hidden from her, but all the news that arrived in the course of the following minutes from Buenos Aires will confirm that the Turin ace was practically unharmed. So reassured, again through the headquarters of the newspaper La Stampa, Mrs. Farina gets in the note to speak on the phone about her with her husband. In the hours following the Grand Prix, Farina will telegraph in the middle of the night to his wife, who anxiously awaited news, honest simple words:
"Out, scary accident unscathed. I embrace you. Nino".
Waiting for the European races, Farina returns after many years to take part in the races for Sports cars, but luck does not assist him: at the Mille Miglia he retires due to a reliability problem, while his debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, teamed up with Hawthorn, was disqualified after a Ferrari mechanic made changes to the braking system during a pit stop. In the third round of the Formula 1 championship, in the Netherlands, Nino hopes to change his face at an extremely negative start to the year, and since the official tests he makes it clear that he is determined to succeed by winning third place on the grid, behind Fangio and Ascari.
The next day, in the race he is the only one to keep pace with the reigning World Champion, coming under the checkered flag second with a gap of just over ten seconds, despite the numerous pieces of tarred macadàm prevented the pilots from drive perfectly. The next day, Farina will leave quickly for Italy, in order to be able to fulfill his duty as an elector in time in the political votes that will have to decide the renewal of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Italian Republic, as Giuseppe Farina tells us shortly after the deadline. of the Grand Prix:
"My eyes are red like those of a guinea pig. It's the fault of the freshly paved road surface and the bits of macadam flying through the air. Villoresi is in the same condition as me. Ascari is better and blesses a pair of special glasses, which he had the good idea of putting on his nose at the time of the start. Bonetto, on the other hand, would have a hard time seeing a sparrow a mile away. In a quarter of an hour a Dutch ophthalmologist will visit us, then we will leave for Brussels. Tomorrow, in any case, to put the cross on the ballot paper in the right place, I'll see very well".
Timetables of railways, airlines and mileage tables in hand, the patrol of Italian pilots in Holland is studying a special itinerary in order not to lose the right to express their electoral ideas. Therefore, as soon as the Grand Prix at the Zandvoort circuit has finished, the small group of Italians moves quickly to Brussels. Two hundred kilometers to be added in the shortest possible time: a grind that is however worth doing. The next day, from Brussels, the pilots travel the six hundred kilometers to get to Malpensa, where Ascari and Villoresi, who live in Milan, before going to hug their families, will make a detour to their respective electoral sections, while for Farina instead the difficulty. The arrival of the plane is scheduled for 12:20 pm.
Ten minutes are needed for customs operations, five to get to Gallarate, the rest will be a sprint along the highway. A friend, Dr. Priggione, waits for Farina at the airport, ready to give him the wheel of his sports car to the electoral section of Corso Matteotti, where he arrives before 2:00 pm, when the polling stations close. Carried out the electoral duties, in Belgium the script of Argentina is repeated: Farina is fourth in the qualifications that see Fangio beat Ascari, and in the race an engine failure in the nineteenth lap forces him to park his Ferrari 500 on the track for the second time, due to engine trouble.
The redemption arrives right in Spa, where in the 24 Hours he wins his first victory with Ferrari, paired with Hawthorn. The two teammates gave life to an opposite performance in the French Grand Prix, as the Englishman won despite having started behind Farina, author of another difficult qualifying ended in sixth place, who closed in fifth place. Things don't change at Silverstone either, and Nino closes qualifying in fifth position. But in the race, despite losing two laps in comparison with a wild Ascari, the Turin driver returns to the podium thanks to the third place conquered. This performance gives him morale for the German Grand Prix.
The qualification history does not change: Ascari signs the pole, while Farina is third. But then, in the race, taking advantage of his teammate's engine problems, the Turin driver dominates and wins his first and only victory in Formula 1 with Ferrari. At the end of the race, Giuseppe Farina receives the German Grand Prix Cup from the hands of the Crown Prince of Japan Akihito, who followed the entire race first from the grandstand, then from the timekeepers' booths.
The good moment will continue until the end of the season: in Switzerland, Nino completes the Ferrari double, coming behind Ascari who has already pocketed the second title; then, by winning the 24 Hours of Nurburgring, he confirms that he has a good feeling with this track. Farina ends the year with a flourish in Monza, finishing second again, losing the duel with Fangio for just over a second, and closing the world championship in third place in the drivers' standings with 26 points. Finally, at the 12 Hours of Casablanca he obtained his fourth victory of the season.
The following year Nino decides to reduce his commitments in the circus, and focus more on sports cars. In 1954 opens like 1953 ended: at the debut of the Formula 1 World Championship, in Argentina, in qualifying he regains pole after two years of waiting, beating the home idols González and Fangio, while in the race he is second behind to the eternal rival, winning the first podium of the season. The race was characterized by protests from Nello Ugolini, Ferrari's sporting director, who indicated to the commissioners, and then to the jury, that Fangio was helped by five Maserati mechanics instead of three, as required by the regulations, and therefore, during the race, he had signaled to Farina to slow down, to avoid an exit from the track due to the impending rain on the circuit.
The following week comes the first victory of the season, again in Argentina. In fact, in the 1000 kilometers of Buenos Aires, Farina crosses the finish line first paired with Maglioli, and thirty days later he repeats himself in the Agadir Grand Prix. The magical moment ends with the 2 Hours of Dakar, where he does not reach the finish line due to mechanical problems. Then, a few kilometers after leaving for the Mille Miglia dispute, aboard his Ferrari, near Peschiera, just forty kilometers from the start, Nino goes off the road at about 200 km/h of speed, finishing his race against a plane tree. Immediately after the crash, several people rush to intervene.
And so, both Farina and his mechanic Parenti are transported by car to the nearby clinic. In the meantime, the journalists arrive urgently by taxi, who meet Farina's car while a tow truck carries it away: the nose is dented, the rear part is smashed, one side bears many evident signs of a very strong blow. The carabinieri indicate the place of the accident, then accompany them to the Pederzoli surgical clinic, two hundred meters ahead: Farina and Parenti, the mechanic who was racing alongside the former World Champion, are hospitalized here. In the corridor a small crowd led by the pilot Bracco, and by Professor Pederzoli himself, take stock of the situation with a double diagnosis: nothing too serious. Farina fractured his right forearm and suffered a large horizontal wound on his face, while Parenti complained of a fractured pelvis and a dislocation with fractured left elbow. Farina, sitting on an operating table, is quite calm:
"Maybe I was betrayed by the anchoring of the wheels. It is a suitable system for water, but when the ground is a little dry it presents some risks. Or maybe I went a little fast. I hit a curbstone, then a I didn't pass out, despite the fact that the rain visor cut my face and pinched my nose. Now I just hope they'll manage quickly. Why? To start running again, right? good: a fortune in misfortune".
The Turin driver will leave the clinic on the afternoon of May 3, 1954, and will return to his home in Turin after having made the journey in a Ferrari, but, for once, not behind the wheel; to drive the car under the watchful eye of the former World Champion is Professor Re, who is taking care of him and constantly begs him in vain not to tire himself. Farina is unable to remain still in his chair: he sits down for a moment, then gets up and walks nervously up to the fireplace to return to the chair, before examining the X-ray of the fractured arm, despite being in a good mood, even though his face is still swollen, and his arm in plaster hurts. In his apartment, the Turin driver welcomes journalists who have come to his bedside to check his state of health. Giuseppe talks willingly, not without a certain enthusiasm that suggests a slight state of shock.
"In a week I should race in Naples and in fifteen days in Silverstone, and on my own I would also race in these conditions. But they tell me that I will have to rest for another twenty days. This accident did not take us. I wanted to force too much in the first few days. Mille Miglia kilometers and I went badly. In Peschiera there was a rather difficult curve, and I had to approach it towards the outside because there was a group of spectators on the other side. I was traveling at 120 km/h. that point pass the rails of a tramway, which were perhaps a bit damp from the recent rain or the car skidded. I tried to brake, but I was actually lifted off the ground. So my car went off the road, it ripped a curbstone and went to stop against a tree. I don't know how my arm broke, I only remember hitting my face against the dashboard and then feeling the taste of blood in my mouth. My helmet had a glass visor, in the collision this it shattered, hurting my nose and even my gums. I can say that in bad luck I was lucky enough. It could have been worse. After all, it's my fault. I had made a plan too risky in the hope of winning: I wanted to reach Ascari, who was he started four minutes before me, and then travel behind him to Brescia. After ten minutes of running I had recovered, traveling at 190 km/h on average. In Peschiera I lost everything at once".
Shortly after the story of the accident, Farina is visited by Professor Re, who decides to undergo surgery in an attempt to hasten the healing of his fractured right forearm. In the meantime, it is rumoured that Mercedes, which is about to re-enter the world of motorsport, is intent on picking up all the best drivers, in the absence of German racers who can challenge the axes of the wheel. In this regard, Farina declares:
"For now, I can't complain about Ferrari. He's a great man. And if he really gives me the car to win at Indianapolis then I'll have to kiss his hands. Indianapolis, the magical dream of all of us drivers".
Back in shape early, Nino competed in the Belgian Grand Prix, but after qualifying third behind the Maserati Fangio-Gonzalez duo four seconds away, his race lasted only fourteen laps, before stopping due to a technical problem. Despite the regret for the retirement, this seems to be a new beginning for Farina. Instead, on the afternoon of June 25, 1954, a frightening accident develops at the Monza racetrack, while the tests for the second Supercortemaggiore Grand Prix were held, reserved for cars in the international sport category, which took place on Sunday June 27, 1954, over the distance of 1008 kilometers. At around 4:00 pm Giuseppe Farina, who took to the track behind the wheel of a new model Ferrari expressly prepared for Sunday's race, right on the first lap, while speeding at about 240 km/h on the straight in front of the stands, recalls the attention of those present because a blaze has given off from the car.
The official press release issued by the Automobile Club Milano attributes the accident to a flashback, but more accurate investigations will make it possible to reconstruct the dramatic adventure experienced by the Turin driver. As the speed increases, a mechanical organ - suddenly blocked for unknown causes - caused the machine to stop suddenly, resulting in a crack in the tank. It is assumed that the gasoline, scattered in a flash on the exhaust manifold, caused the car to ignite. Flour is hit by a blaze in the legs. The Turin driver, at first tries to dominate the car but, overcome by the spasm, he manages with quickness of spirit to stop the car, despite it speeding at over 250 km/h, and saves himself by throwing and rolling in the grass to soothe the burns in his legs and to put out the fire that had stuck to his suit.
The car remains liquefied, while the unfortunate driver is immediately transported to the hospital in Circolo of Monza, where the doctors on call found first and second degree burns to his lower limbs and some burns on his hands, which can be cured in a month. Kidney complications are feared at first; but in a short time this danger is averted and the patient's conditions do not cause concern. Giuseppe Farina had just returned to competitions after the dramatic adventure of the Mille Miglia: as soon as he was able to move his right arm, he had returned to training, protecting the limb with a special bandage, and had competed in the Belgian Grand Prix. Her wife, warned by telephone of her misfortune, rushes into her car to Monza, terrified by the thought that a pitiful lie had hidden a more serious disaster from her. Joseph himself, embracing her, reassures her:
"Don't worry, it's nothing: I'll be back running soon".
Among the first to visit the former World Champion were Gonzalez and Maglioli; the Argentine driver, in a Ferrari, set the best time during the test, completing the lap of the track at an average of 181 km/h, winning the first prize of 150.000 lire. Maglioli, who should have run in tandem with Farina, also set a considerable time, spinning at an average of 180 km/h. As soon as he arrived from America, Dr. Vecchia learned of the misadventure that the Turin pilot had to face, and immediately phoned from Turin during the evening, receiving tranquilizing news.
On the morning of Saturday June 26, 1954, however, the doctor learns that Giuseppe Farina had spent a rather restless night, therefore he asks to be next to the pilot, especially as a family friend. This, despite the doctors of the Monza hospital assure that the conditions of the Turin ace of the steering wheel do not cause concern and that Farina will be able to recover soon, even if he will have to treat first and second degree burns to the lower limbs for at least a month (hands are also slightly burned). Farina, accompanied by his wife, returns to Turin on July 16, 1954 and is hospitalized in a well-known Turin clinic. This decision was taken after the consultation with prof. Dogliotti who believes the transfer is possible: now the popular rider will undergo a new treatment that will hopefully bring him to recovery in a short time.
During the evening of July 16, around 6:30 pm, Nino receives a welcome call from Ferrari, who wants to remember him from Modena in a moment of particular joy. The commendatore had in fact received the announcement of the amazing victory of his cars at Silverstone shortly before, and wanted to share his satisfaction with the faithful driver, at the same time wishing him his best wishes for a speedy recovery so that the only Italian driver of the team Ferrari may soon resume its place.
"The Ferraris can aim for an encore".
Giuseppe Farina declares from the Fornaca clinic in Turin where he is hospitalized after returning from Milan. Enthusiasm for the sensational victory of his Ferraris, regret for the forced absence from a race in which he certainly could have performed well.
These are his feelings. The regret increases for the fact that a fortnight later, on August 1st, the sixth round of the world championship takes place at the Nurburgring, where Farina, the previous year, had won the race valid for the world ranking, ahead of Fangio, and the 1000 Km paired with Ascari.
"Staying in a bed, in Turin with the anxiety of returning to competitions and with the memory of two successes that at least show me that I have a chance on the troubled German circuit, is hard. If at least these terrible burns would leave me in peace. I still have very strong pains. Not even adding up all the fractures I have reported in my career, I think I have suffered as much as now from the third degree burns I suffered in Monza. At night I see the scene in which for a few fractions of a second I have avoided death. At the Nurburgring the Germans will enjoy the considerable advantage of the field factor, but the Prancing Horse cars will find in front of their bonnet an even more tormented path than Silverstone: curves up and down. The Ferraris know how to win again".
Nino Farina, who is assisted by his wife, continues to receive visits from acquaintances and athletes while awaiting recovery. On Monday July 19, 1954, among others, Valenzano and Carraroli visit. However, the recovery will be slow, and the redemption will come only at the beginning of 1955, when the sixth Formula 1 World Championship starts, in Argentina. In qualifying Nino is sixth eight tenths behind his teammate Gonzalez, with whom, together with Trintignant, he finishes second behind Fangio in the race. Farina is the author of another good performance in the Monaco Grand Prix. Redeeming the bad official tests closed with the fourteenth time, in the race he recovers ten positions and passes under the checkered flag in fourth place.
A week later, at the wheel of the 118 LM of the team from Maranello, he finished fifth at the Eifelrennen Nurburgring, and at the beginning of June he will conquer his last podium in Formula 1 at Spa, where he crosses the finish line behind Fangio and Moss who complete the double win. of Maserati, ahead of his teammate Frère. That of Belgium should have represented the last race in Formula 1 of the 1955 season for Giuseppe Farina, who wanted to take a break from racing after the drama that occurred at Le Mans on June 11, 1955; however, during a test conducted on May 26, 1955 in Monza, with the Ferrari 750 Ascari he is the victim of an accident in which he loses his life.
Lancia decides to retire, and sells all the cars to the team from Maranello. Ferrari believes that the only one capable of replacing Ascari is only a driver, and asks Farina to take part in at least the Italian Grand Prix: the Turin driver accepts. Although he didn't know much about the D50, Nino was fifth in qualifying, but was unable to start in the race due to tire problems. Monza will be the last occasion in which Giuseppe Farina competes in a Formula 1 Grand Prix, closing the last world championship of his career in fifth place in the drivers' standings, with 10.33 points.
In 1956 the great goal of the season was the Indianapolis 500, the third round of the Formula 1 World Championship, to try to succeed where even Ascari had failed four years earlier. Having skipped participation in the 1955 Indianapolis 500, the car was entered for the next edition by Ferrari Bardahl for the Italian driver Nino Farina, with the number 9. The Turin driver, in his first experience on the Indianapolis track, uses the 375 Indy, led by Alberto Ascari in 1952, to complete the rookie test.
Even the mechanics hired on site, Paul Meyer and Jess Beene, are lacking in experience on this track, having worked mainly in other kinds of races, and despite the fact that Ferrari mechanics are also present in the team, thanks to the linguistic diversity, a positive relationship between Americans and Italians, including Farina. The former World Champion immediately struggled to adapt to the car and the track, despite the advice of the expert Fred Agabashian, so much so that he was temporarily replaced by Earl Mutter, who immediately proved to be faster; the American part of the team also wants to replace the Ferrari engine with an Offenhauser, but the Barhal executives reiterate that the Italian driver and engine would not have been changed.
On the day set for the qualification of the car, a storm floods the track and qualifications are initially postponed and then definitively canceled for organizational and regulatory reasons. Like all the other drivers and cars scheduled for that day, Nino Farina does not have the opportunity to try to qualify the Ferrari Bardahl Special, the latest Ferrari single-seater that runs, even if not in the race, on the Indianapolis oval track. This represents the last sporting event in which Giuseppe Farina participates, who retires after collecting eight wins, fourteen podiums, two poles and a Formula 1 World Champion title. On June 30, 1966, he died in Aiguebelle. Giuseppe Farina is still remembered today not only for having won the first championship in the history of Formula 1, but for having been the driver who bewitched Nuvolari and Enzo Ferrari, who in one of his books will say:
"He was the man with courage that bordered on the improbable. A great driver, but for whom you always had to be apprehensive, especially at the start and when there were one or two laps to go. At the start he was a little like a thoroughbred at the tapes, which in the heat of the first gust can break; near the finish line he was capable of doing madness, but it had to be said, risking only his own, without impropriety to the detriment of others. Thus, he had a subscription to the lanes".