Missing Fangio at the ’58 Belgian GP.

You need great passion, because everything you do with great pleasure, you do well. - Fangio

For me, Fangio’s words ring true.  Fangio vibrated on a legendary frequency.  As he continues to gear down into retirement, I have found myself missing Fangio.  In doing this project, I have come to feel a very real connection to him.  It is like when your favorite character in a book fades away into the sunset and you are left wishing there were more pages.  Just when I felt like I was beginning to understand Fangio, his career came to end.  It is good that he escaped racing unscathed, for he would live a long life being an excellent ambassador for the sport he mastered.  But, I will always have a certain fondness for the footage of him I was able to see and the anecdotes that seemed to embody his truly unique ethos.  It was not just his passion or his skill, it was the way he carried himself.  For me, Fangio was great because he stared down fear, yet always marched on, purely for the love of the game.

The Formula One calendar, however, never stops.  The race always goes on.  And so, we turn to the next race of the season.

The 1958 Belgian Grand Prix.

Stirling Moss came into the race having just won the 1,000 kilometer sports car race at the Nürburgring.  But, this would not be his day.  He missed a gear down-shifting and blew up his engine.  With Fangio not in the field, and Moss out of the race, it left a perfect opportunity to gain points on the championship.

The 1958 course had been resurfaced and straightened at a few points.  The result was that the track, composed of public roads, was faster than ever.

And so, Tony Brooks came around in the lead at the end of the first lap.  The next lap, it was Peter Collins in front.  They continued to switch places until Collins’ Ferrari D246s F1 engine exploded on the fifth lap.  This left Tony Brooks able to carry the lead for the remaining 19 laps.  Mike Hawthorn set fast lap trying to cut down Brooks’ lead.  Even with the lap record, he was not able to catch Brooks and finished 20 seconds behind.  However, he scored much needed points in the championship.

This race was also notable for the first woman to start, and finish, a Formula One grand prix.  Her name was Maria Teresa de Filippis and she drove a private Maserati 250F.  Unfortunately, she struggled to keep pace with the field.  Nevertheless, it remains an important moment in F1 history.

Driver’s Championship:

  • Stirling Moss – 17
  • Mike Hawthorn – 14
  • Luigi Musso – 12

Constructor’s Championship:

  • Scuderia Ferrari – 20
  • Cooper-Climax – 19
  • Vanwall – 16