Giuseppe 'Nino' Farina
- October 30, 1906
- June 30, 1966
- Not Active
- Ferrari Alfa Romeo
Giuseppe Farina, better known as Nino Farina, was an Italian racing driver and the champion of the inaugural Formula One World Championship in 1950. In the pre-World War II period, Farina was a three-time Italian champion. He participated in the Formula One Championship until 1955, finishing two times near the top, second in 1952 and third in 1953. Farina was killed in a road car accident in France on June 30, 1966.
Member of the famous Farina family
Giuseppe Antonio 'Nino' Farina was born on October 30, 1906, in Turin. On the day of his birth, Giuseppe's father Giovanni Carlo Farina established Stabilimente Farina, the automotive coachbuilder company. One of the employees was Giovanni's brother Battista Farina, who later established the famous Pininfarina company.
It was expected that Nino would join family business but he felt in love with driving the car, not building it. He started to drive at the age of nine, running the two-cylinder Temperino around the father's firm. In 1925, while still at university, Nino purchased an old Alfa Romeo and participated in the Aosta – San Bernardo Hillclimb race, racing against the father. His father finished fourth, Nino crashed, breaking his shoulder and suffering facial cuts. It was the first of his many accidents in his driving career.
Tazio Nuvolari helped Giuseppe
Before entering races for real, Giuseppe wanted full education, so he became the Doctor of Political Science and Law at the University of Turin. After a short career as a cavalry officer in the Italian army, Farina returned to the race tracks in 1933, driving Maseratis and Alfa Romeos. Nino became a friend with 14 years older racer Tazio Nuvolari, who helped him to move the career in the right direction.
During 1935, Farina competed with Gino Rovere's Maseratis in a few Grand Prix races in Africa and Europe, including one race of the European Championship, which was the premier competition in that time. Good performances attracted the interest of Enzo Ferrari, who recruited Farina to drive for Scuderia Ferrari in 1936.
Farina's first notable result was the second place at 1936 Mille Miglia, together with Stefano Meazza in Alfa Romeo 8C 2900. At ADAC Eifelrennen at Nurburgring, Farina finished fourth. He participated in three races of the European Championship, finishing 14th in the final classification.
Three in a row Italian championship titles
Under Tazio Nuvolari's tutelage Farina was improving and he took his first championship title in 1937, becoming the Italian champion with Alfa Romeo 12C. At 1937 Mille Miglia, Farina and Meazza again finished second in Scuderia Ferrari's Alfa Romeo 8C 2900. In the European Championship, Farina collected the same amount of points as his mentor Nuvolari and they finished seventh in the final classification.
The second in a row Italian Championship title followed in 1938, this time with Alfa Romeo Tipo 316 of the newly established Alfa Corse team. In the European Championship, Farina scored his first podium, finishing second behind Nuvolari at Monza. In the final standings, Farina was in the eighth place.
Nino Farina took his third consecutive Italian title in 1939, driving Afa Romeo 158. It was also his car in the 1939 European Championship, interrupted by the World War II. Farina participated in some races during 1940 before he stopped all racing activities because of war. He finished second at the 1940 Mille Miglia and won the 1940 Gran Premio de Tripoli.
Two wins at Lake Geneva after the war
After the war, Farina got married to Elsa Giaretto, a woman who ran an exclusive fashion business in Turin. Farina resumed racing in 1946, winning the inaugural Grand Prix of Nations at Lake Geneva on July 21, 1946. He was driving the Alfa Romeo 158.
Farina returned to Lake Geneva in May 1948, winning the race with Maserati 4CLT. During the year, Farina won some other F1 races, including the Monaco Grand Prix, becoming one of the world's leading drivers. In 1949, he reunited with Scuderia Ferrari to drive the Ferrari 125C in Argentina. In Europe, he was mostly driving Maserati but switched to Ferrari at 1949 BRDC Trophy at Silverstone, in which he finished second behind Alberto Ascari.
First Formula 1 World Champion in 1950
It was the last big non-championship race before the Formula One World Championship was established in 1950. Farina was appointed as the leader of the three-car Alfa Romeo team. Nino Farina was an absolutely dominant driver in 1950, as he won five non-championship races and the championship Grand Prix races.
Six out of six for Alfa Romeo 158
The Alfa Romeo 158 was the victorious car in all six European races of the F1 Championship, with Farina scoring three wins (Silverstone, Bremgarten and Monza) and Juan Manuel Fangio winning the remaining three races (Monaco, Spa and Reims). The Alfa Romeo trio: Farina, Fangio and Luigi Fagioli (known as three F's) took the leading three positions. Farina and Fangio had three wins, but Farina also had two more finished races while Fangio retired three times, so Farina became the first ever Formula One champion.
One victory for Nino in 1951 Formula 1 season
In 1951, the Formula One Championship calendar was expanded to eight races (seven in Europe plus Indianapolis 500). Farina scored only one victory, at the Belgian Grand Prix, still driving for Alfa Romeo. He finished fourth in the final standings, behind Fangio, Ascari and Jose Froilan Gonzalez. In the non-championship events, Farina won four times.
No wins in 1952 Formula One season
The 1952 season was dominated by Scuderia Ferrari's Alberto Ascari, who won six races and took the title ahead of teammate Nino Farina. Both were driving Ferrari 500. Farina had no wins, he finished second four times. The reigning champion Fangio didn't participate in the championship because he was badly injured in the non-championship race at Monza. Farina was the first person who visited Fangio in the hospital.
24 hours of Le Mans debut in 1953
In 1953, Farina again had an extremely good season in the non-championship races, winning eight times in the various F1 and sportscar races, including 24 hours of Spa and 1000 km of Nurburgring with Ferrari 375 MM. In June 1953, Farina debuted at 24 hours of Le Mans, partnering Mike Hawthorn in the #14 Ferrari 340 MM, but they were disqualified.
Horrific accident at 1953 Argentina Grand Prix
In the 1953 F1 Championship, Farina scored one victory at German Grand Prix and added four podiums in eight races, finishing third behind Ascari and Fangio. In the Argentine Grand Prix, he was involved in an accident with seven killed spectators when he had to avoid the kid who ran across the track and went off to the spectators standings on the next corner.
Scuderia Ferrari leader in 1954 season
In 1954, the 47-year-old Farina was the Scuderia Ferrari's team leader because Ascari left the team. The season started with a victory in the sports car race 1000 km of Buenos Aires with Ferrari 375 MM, alongside Umberto Maglioli. He also won the F1 non-championship race Gran Premio de Siracusa. At 1954 Mille Miglia, he crashed while leading with Ferrari 375 Plus.
In the 1954 F1 Championship he participated in two races, finishing second in Argentina and retiring at Spa. In June, he was badly injured and burned in the Supercortemaggiore Grand Prix, a sports car race at Monza. He spent lots of time in a hospital and didn't race any more that year.
Good results in the last Formula One season
Lots of injuries forced him to take painkillers to be able to drive. After one more season under medications, Farina announced retirement from racing at the end of 1955. In his last F1 season, shortened after Le Mans tragedy, he participated in three races with Scuderia Ferrari, finishing second in Argentina, fourth in Monaco and third at Spa. Such results placed him at fifth place in the championship standings.
In the 1955 Argentine Grand Prix, Farina finished both 2nd (shared drive with Trintignant and Gonzalez) and 3rd (shared drive with Maglioli and Trintignant), so he was awarded one-third of the points for each result.
Accident and withdrawal from 1955 Italian Grand Prix
In September, Ferrari was supposed to enter Lancia D50 to the Italian Grand Prix, but the car suffered a tire failure at 170 mph during a practice session. The car spun, Farina was, fortunately, unhurt. Ferrari withdrew the car from the event and Farina didn't start his final Grand Prix.
Unsuccessful and deadly attempts at Indianapolis 500
With one title, five wins and 20 podiums, Farina left the F1 Championship after the 1955 season and became a successful Alfa Romeo dealer. He didn't completely leave the racing because he went to the United States in May of 1956 to participate in the Indianapolis 500 with Bardahl-sponsored Ferrari-powered Kurtis Kraft 500D.
The qualifying procedure was spoiled by rain and Farina had no chance to qualify for the race. He returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a year later, to compete in the conventional Indy car, the Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser. During the test runs, his teammate Keith Andrews crashed and lost his life, so Farina decided to withdraw from the event and it was his last racing appearance in a career.
Giuseppe Nino Farina was killed in a road car accident
In the next decade, he sold cars and visited races occasionally. In 1966, he was the adviser and driving double of the French actor Yves Montand for the movie Grand Prix. On June 30, Farina was traveling to the French Grand Prix race to participate in the filming. Driving from Turin through the Alps, in the Lotus-Cortina, Farina went off the road near Chambery, hit a telegraph pole and was killed instantly.