On the Monday after the International Trophy Race the motor racing fraternity met in the lush surroundings of London’s Savoy Hotel to meet the retired World Champion, and see the new B.P. film “Tribute to Fangio.”
Fangio, immaculate in lounge suit, greeted the hundreds of guests and when, later that evening, he was presented with a copy of the film in his own language and a painting by Roy Nockolds, the guests greeted him as warmly and spontaneously as the public had at Silverstone, rising to their feet to acclaim the greatest living driver.
The film “Tribute to Fangio” ranks amongst the greatest motor racing films. It shows shots from prominent races, most of which Fangio has won since 1947, including the fantastic Nurburgring victory of 1957, in which race Fangio’s pit-stop is shown and also a distant view of his Maserati passing Collins’ Lancia/Ferrari on the inside of the Nordkehre during his fantastic, and, successful, bid to wrest victory from Hawthorn and Collins.
There is also a fantastic sequence of Fangio testing a Maserati round Modena, with the camera fixed to the tail of the car, a piece of film which is bound to become historic and which, depicting the Champion’s sheer mastery of high-speed cornering, makes the viewer feel the “g” gripping at him in his seat. It is now our ambition to see a similar sequence on a really twisty circuit such as Monaco.
If any criticism of this great B.P. film is justified it is that shots of Fangio finishing a race and preparing to receive the plaudits of the crowd are sometimes cut rather suddenly, just as one would like to join in the hero-worship. But as selections from films not especially depicting Fangio have had to be blended into this present film, this is no doubt inevitable. Raymond Baxter provides his usual excellent commentary — only Nevil Lloyd could do it better, and he provided the script — but one shot of Fangio replying to Raymond Mays about his opinion of the handling qualities of the V16 B.R.M. requires no embellishing by the commentator.
“Tribute to Fangio ” closes with the man who was five times Champion Driver of the World driving away in a Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster with the lady who has been his staunch companion through all his racing career.
Make sure you see this film. — W. B.