Clear and insatiable individualism was Juan Manuel Fangio’s main characteristic. The Argentine driver was appraised and feared by his colleagues and adversaries alike.
Juan Manuel Fangio was his own infallible manager – a bad habit, we’d say today – and although he always drove the best cars, winning five Formula One World Titles, Enzo Ferrari never took him into his heart.
Fangio started his career in Argentina, where courage and physical strength were the crucial attributes on the difficult tracks of South America. In the late 40s Fangio came to Europe, where he was already known as a very fast and intelligent driver and immediately impressed the Commendatore. In winter 1956 he came to Maranello as a three times World Champion, surrounded by several young and talented drivers. With his reluctant and distrustful character, it was difficult integrating him into the Scuderia, where loyalty for the Company stands above all. But there was no doubt that he was and still is the best driver ever. Only Michael Schumacher reached Fangio, removing the Argentine’s unreachable aura. The season started in January with the Argentine GP followed by several races and victories.
Enzo Ferrari’s investment was bearing fruit with the continuous successes of the Team and the driver, but the team order with two drivers racing didn’t work out too well for a personality that is used to doing everything himself. The Scuderia’s sacrifices were huge, but there was also polemics and Fangio’s tension could be felt on and off the tracks. Bad luck and mechanical problems went along with him until his double-win, in Silverstone and at the Nürburgring. With the exceptional Argentine driver at his best and perfect teamwork, the Scuderia won the Sport World Title. It was the end of the season and of this difficult relationship between the Champion and the Prancing Horse.