|Born||30 October 1906|
Turin, Piedmont, Italy
|Died||30 June 1966 (aged 59)|
Aiguebelle, Savoie, France
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Team(s)||Alfa Romeo, Ferrari|
|First Grand Prix||1950 British Grand Prix|
|Entries||34 (33 starts)|
|Career Points||115 1⁄3 (127 1⁄3)|
|Drivers' Championships||1 (1950)|
|Final Grand Prix||1955 Italian Grand Prix|
|European Championship career|
|Team(s)||Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Gino Rovere, Scuderia Subalpina|
|First Grand Prix||1935 Swiss Grand Prix|
|Final Grand Prix||1939 Swiss Grand Prix|
Emilio Giuseppe "Nino" Farina (30 October 1906, – 30 June 1966) was an Italian racing driver from Turin. He stands out in the history of Grand Prix motor racing for his much copied 'straight-arm' driving style and his status as the first ever Formula One World Champion. He also won the first ever Formula One Race, and became the first driver to start a race from Pole Position.
Born in Turin, 'Nino' Farina was the eldest of the Farina brothers, whose father, Battista Farina, founded the car coachbuilding company Carrozzeria Pinin Farina. He became a Doctor of Political Science (although some sources say engineering). He cut short a career as a cavalry officer with the Italian army to fulfil a different ambition: motor racing.
While still a university Farina purchased his first car, a second-hand Alfa Romeo, and ran it in the 1925 Aosta-Gran San Bernardo Hillclimb. While trying to beat his father, he crashed, breaking his shoulder and receiving facial cuts, establishing a trend that continued throughout his crash-prone career.
Grand Prix racingEdit
During the 1933 and 1934 seasons Farina returned to the sport, racing Maseratis and Alfa Romeos for Gino Rovere and Scuderia Subalpina, and began a friendship with Italian racing legend Tazio Nuvolari. It was Nuvolari who to some extent, guided Farina’s early career.
In 1935, Farina raced for the factory Maserati team, finishing the European Championship in twentfirst place. During the season Farina showed enough promise to impress Enzo Ferrari, who recruited him to drive for Scuderia Ferrari, the team that ran the works-supported Alfa Romeos.
For his first season with Ferrari Farina became the number two driver to Nuvolari, who he idolized. Using an Alfa Romeo 8C Farina finished second in the Mille Miglia, after driving through the night without lights. He finished his first European Championship with Ferrari in fourteenth place.
In 1937 Nuvolari left Ferrari to join Auto Union, leaving Farina to take the number one position in the team. Ferrari also accuired the new Alfa Romeo 12C for the season. Farina won several races in the Voiturette class to seal his first Italian Championship. He also won his first non-championship Grand Prix at Naples. He finishes the European Championship in seventh place, his best finish in the series.
In 1938, the official Alfa Romeo team, Alfa Corse, returned to motor sport and Farina became a member after they took over Ferrari. Once again he won the Italian Championship driving the new 316. He also secured his only European Championship podium with a second place at the Italian Grand Prix. During the 1938 Gran Premio di Tripoli, László Hartmann's Maserati 4CM cut a corner in front of Farina. The cars collided and overturned. Farina survived without major injuries, but Hartmann died the following day. Farina finished eighth overall in the European Championship.
1939 proved to be the final year of the European Championship, with war being declared near the end of the year. Once again with Alfa Corse Farina used the new 158 to great effect in the Italian Championship, winning it for a third consecutive year, however he did not perform so well in the European Championship, finishing thirteenth overall.
Farina took his first major race win, at the 1940 Tripoli Grand Prix in Libya. However the Second World War intervened just as he, like so many drivers from the era, was reaching his peak as a driver. During the war he served as an officer in a tank regiment but luck held and he survived the war.
For the inagural Formula One World Championship season Alfa Romeo selected Farina as one of their drivers. At the first race of the year at Silverstone Farina took the first World Championship pole position. Farina eventually won the race after 70 laps becoming the first driver to win a Formula One championship race. At the second race in Monaco team mate Juan Manuel Fangio got a better start off the line leaving Farina in second place. As Farina entered the tabac corner he found it to be flooded by a tidal wave and he spun triggering a nine car pile up. Fangio won the race, levelling out the points with Farina. Farina, along with the whole Alfa team skipped the Indianapolis 500. Farina won the next race in Switzerland and in Belgium Fangio won with Farina cruising to a fourth place with a clutch problem. In France Farina lead the race and it seemed like he was going to win but his car suffered a fuel pump issue at his second pitstop gifting victory to Fangio. At the final race of the season in Italy Farina was third in the championship with 22 points, for Farina to win the championship he had to finish first and Fangio had to finish third or lower. Farina qualified first ahead of Ferrari driver Alberto Ascari. Farina took the lead follwed by Ascari, but Fangio was doing just enough for him to secure the championship when on lap 22 he suffered a gearbox problem. He took over the car of Tarufi and began again but on lap 35 had to retire again gifting Farina the race victory and the first World Drivers' championship.
For 1951 Farina continued with Alfa Romeo, but could not match Fangio, who secured the title for the Milanese marque. He could only secure one world championship victory, coming at the 1951 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. He also won three non-championship races at Paris, Ulster and Goodwood. He finished the World Championship season in fourth place. At the end of the year Alfa Romeo withdrew from racing and for the following year Farina moved to join Ferrari, who since the war was building his own cars.
For the 1952 season Grand Prix racing switched to Formula 2 specification. At Ferrari Farina partnered fellow Italian Alberto Ascari. He achieved a series of second places but was once again beaten by his team mate. He also won the non-championship Gran Premio di Napoli and Monza Grand Prix. Ascari’s total domination of the championship had been a bitter blow to Farina’s self-image, even though he secured second place in the World Championship.
For 1953 Farina remained at Ferrari and once again partnered Ascari. at the first race of the season, the Argentine Grand Prix, Farina was involved in an accident. A young boy ran across the track while Farina was committed to a fast corner, the Curva Nor Este. Farina was forced to take evasive action and swerved into the spectators standing on the exit of the corner, killing seven and injuring many others. He achieved he final of five wins and his only for Ferrari at the German Grand Prix. This was followed by two second place finishes, gaining third place in the World Championship. Other non-Championship Formula One victories came in the Gran Premio di Napoli and Grand Prix de Rouen-les-Essarts. He also teamed up with fellow Formula one driver Mike Hawthorn to win the Spa 24 hours.
The 1954 season started well for Farina, Ascari left the team, leaving Farina the team leader. At the first race in Argentina he became the oldest driver to achieve Pole Position, a record which still stands today. He went onto finish second. He crashed heavily in the Mille Miglia whilst leading in his Ferrari, but just seven weeks later, and with his right arm still in plaster, Farina raced in the 1954 Belgian Grand Prix. He was leading before the end of the first lap, dicing with Fangio’s Maserati, until the ignition failed on his Ferrari. Later in the season he was badly injured in the Supercortemaggiore Grand Prix, a sports car race at Monza, as a consequence of which he spent 20 days in hospital. He would not return to Formula One until 1955.
Farina was back with Ferrari for the start of the 1955 season in Argentina, taking morphine injections to ease the pain. Third place in the 1955 Argentine Grand Prix went to Farina’s original car which had been drivern by Maglioli and Maurice Trintignant. After a third place in Belgium, Farina ‘retired’ mid-season, owing to the continued pain and the death of Ascari. He returned for the 1955 Italian Grand Prix, but his Scuderia Ferrari-entered Lancia D50 suffered a tyre failure at 170 mph during a practise session. The car spun, but Farina stepped out unhurt. Ferrari withdrew the car from the event, and Farina did not start his final Grand Prix.
After Formula OneEdit
In 1956 Farina attempted the Indianapolis 500 but failed after crashing and later breaking his collar bone at a minor race in Monza. Farina gave up racing for good after when attempting the 500 again the next year, his team mate suffered a fatal accident while in his car.
Following his retirement, Farina became involved in Alfa Romeo and Jaguar distributorships and later assisted at the Pininfarina factory. While driving to the 1966 French Grand Prix Farina lost control of his Lotus Cortina in the Savoy Alps, near Aiguebelle, hit a telegraph pole and was killed instantly.
Complete Grand Prix resultsEdit
Complete European Championship resultsEdit
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)
|1935||Gino Rovere||Maserati 6C-34||Maserati Straight-6|| BEL|| GER|| SUI|
| ITA|| ESP||21=||36|
|1936||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo 8C-35||Alfa Romeo Straight-8|| MON|
| GER|| SUI|
|1937||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo 8C-35||Alfa Romeo Straight-8|| BEL|| GER|
|1938||Alfa Corse||Alfa Romeo 316||Alfa Romeo V16|| FRA|| GER|
|1939||Alfa Corse||Alfa Romeo 158||Alfa Romeo Straight-8|| BEL|
| FRA|| GER|| SUI|
Complete Formula One World Championship resultsEdit
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position, races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1950||Alfa Romeo SpA||Alfa Romeo 158/50||Alfa Romeo Straight-8|| GBR|
| 500|| SUI|
|1951||Alfa Romeo SpA||Alfa Romeo 159A||Alfa Romeo Straight-8|| SUI|
| 500|| BEL|
|Alfa Romeo 159B|| GBR|
|Alfa Romeo 159M|| ITA|
|1952||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari 500||Ferrari Straight-4|| SUI|
| 500|| BEL|
|1953||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari 500||Ferrari Straight-4|| ARG|
| 500|| NED|
|1954||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari 625||Ferrari Straight-4|| ARG|
| 500|| FRA|| GBR|| GER|| SUI|| ITA|| ESP|
|Ferrari 553|| BEL|
|1955||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari 625/555||Ferrari Straight-4|| ARG|
|Ferrari 625|| MON|
|Ferrari 555|| 500|| BEL|
|Lancia D50||Lancia V8|| NED|| GBR|| ITA|
* Indicates Shared Drive
** In the 1955 Argentine Grand Prix, Farina finished both 2nd (shared drive with Trintignant and González) and 3rd (shared drive with Maglioli and Trintignant). He was awarded one-third of the points for each result.