GPBlog's Top 50 drivers in 50 days - #28 - Giuseppe Farina

16-02-2020 19:00
by Adam Newton
GPBlog's Top 50 drivers in 50 days - #28 - Giuseppe Farina

Welcome back to and our countdown to the Australian Grand Prix. It’s just four weeks until the F1 season gets underway in Melbourne, so it’s time for number 28 on our countdown of the best F1 drivers of all time. Yesterday was all about John Surtees, but today we’re looking at F1’s first race winner and first champion, Giuseppe ‘Nino’ Farina.

Farina is perhaps a driver who had his best years as a driver taken away from him due to the second world war. He was 44 when F1 began in 1950, but made the perfect start, taking pole and victory in the very first race at Silverstone after battling Luigi Fagioli and Juan Manuel Fangio.

He won the fourth round of the season in Switzerland to take the championship lead over his Alfa Romeo teammates, however retirement in France gave Fangio the advantage heading into the final race at Monza.

Fangio took pole but retired after 23 laps, giving Farina the chance to grab F1’s first title. He duly won the race, with rival Fagioli down in third, and became F1’s first champion.

The Alfa Romeo domination continued in 1951 and Farina looked good to retain his title, leading after three of the eight rounds.

But poor results in France, Britain and Germany saw Fangio overtake him, with Farina eventually finishing the season down in fourth.

Fangio didn’t compete in 1952 after breaking his neck in an accident and Alfa Romeo pulled out due to rule changes. That saw Farina join another Italian team, Ferrari.

At Ferrari the ageing Farina was met by another serious challenger, Alberto Ascari. Farina could do nothing to stop his fellow Italian, who was about to embark on a record run of seven consecutive race victories, a tally only beaten by Sebastian Vettel in 2013. It would have been nine, had it not been for the Indy 500, in which most of F1’s stars didn’t compete in.

Victory in the 1953 German Grand Prix brought Farina back into outside contention, but it was too little too late as Ascari took his second title.

It proved to be Farina’s last win in F1 and he would only compete in five more races, finishing on the podium three more times.

Farina wasn’t quite old or experienced enough to make an impact on pre-war racing and was past his best by the time F1 came around.

Despite this, he still managed to make his mark on F1 and will go down in history forever as the first polesitter, race winner and world champion and that’s a record nobody can beat.

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