This is the first time I’ve ever attempted something like this, so try and bear with me if it’s not perfect to start with. Usually it’s been the idea of contributing something all the time that has scared me off, but I decided that I may as well give it a shot.
This blog will not be like many others that simply reproduce the same news stories that you’ve read from at least one other news source. I’ll be posting opinions, stories and photographs related to Formula One, motorsport and (occasionally) my life.
I’m happy to talk about anything to do with Formula One. If you think you can provide something interesting to discuss, or have a question you’d like answered then fire away. Your opinion is just as interesting as mine, I assure you.
I’ll start off the blog with a passage from Gerald Donaldson’s biography of Juan Manuel Fangio (titled ‘Fangio: The Life Behind The Legend’).
Mercedes wanted Stirling Moss in their team for 1955,’ Juan said, ‘so they came back to me first to ask my opinion. I told them he was the best driver they could take. For me, it would have been better to have a mediocre driver beside me. Instead, I chose the best driver because of the team.’ In fact, Moss had approached Alfred Neubauer in 1954 with a view to getting a Mercedes ride. Neubauer had advised him to get more experience and had then been deeply impressed by Moss’s performances for Maserati. Before the 1955 season began, Neubauer put his new recruit to the ultimate test by comparing him to the team’s number one driver on the world’s most difficult track. In their private practice session at the Nurburgring, Juan went out first and after three laps set a target time. Moss, who had some previous experience around the 14.5-mile jigsaw puzzle of a track, took several laps to play himself in and then clocked a time impressively quicker than Juan’s. At this point, with the British newcomer having in his first drive in a Mercedes beaten Juan, the crafty Neubauer declared it was time for a lunch break. Noticing that his Argentine driver lacked an appetite, Neubauer asked Juan if he would like to do a few more laps. Indeed he would. Juan went out again to salvage his wounded pride and within three laps had beaten Moss’s time. When he returned to the pits, the three mechanics assigned to Juan’s car presented him with a bouquet of wild flowers they had picked from the Nurburgring’s grass verges. Surprised at this display of sentiment from the normally reserved and supposedly unemotional Germans, Juan thereafter considered the flowers to be one of the best prizes he ever received.
Everyone involved in the exercise had made his point. Moss had proved himself entirely capable of holding his own against the champion, who now knew that his estimation of the Englishman’s potential was valid, as did Neubauer, who would benefit from having the two drivers push each other, as well as back up each other, thereby strengthening the team. But the chief beneficiary was Moss, for whom the opportunity of following in the wheel tracks of the best driver in the world would be invaluable in terms of developing a driving prowess that would eventually establish him as the great Fangio’s successor. Beyond this, the personal relationship between Moss and the Maestro, as Moss began calling the man who was eighteen years his senior, became the closest either of them had in all their years of racing. What started as a student-pupil association developed into something of a father-son relationship.