"A Life of Speed: The Juan Manuel Fangio Story" is the long, impassioned account of the man who is still considered the greatest driver of all time in a documentary made by the Argentinian production company Cinema 7 Film and distributed by Netflix. At the bequest of the family of the driver from Balcarce, the film collects many accounts of the motorsport champions of yesterday and today and is full of vintage images and contributions of the people who were lucky enough to have known and worked with him.
FANGIO IN THE MEMORY OF PIRELLI
The documentary started from the Archives of Fondazione Pirelli, where many of the documents telling about the driver, who perhaps more than any other tied his personal story to that of the brand with the stretched P logo, are collected. Because Fangio's was not a simple "technical" collaboration between a champion and a tyre manufacturer but rather a bond that went beyond the business relationship.
Fangio's long career with Pirelli lasted from 1949 to 1957, from Formula 1 to the Mille Miglia, and is extensively documented in the Archives of the Fondazione. Many photographs are preserved, some of them personally signed by the Argentinian driver. Fangio and his sporting successes were often celebrated on the pages of the Rivista Pirelli and in "Pàginas", the house-organ of Pirelli in Argentina.
FROM THE RACE TRACK TO THE CINTURATO
Besides motorsports, Fangio weaved a relationship with Pirelli that went well beyond racing. As early as 1950, he had featured in some scenes of the film "Ultimo Incontro". In the backstage photographs kept in the Archives, the driver plays himself at the start of the Italian Grand Prix set in the Alfa Romeo-Pirelli pit at the Monza circuit.
In 1965, Fangio starred a series of Cinturato Pirelli advertisements which were aired in the "Carosello" feature on Italian television. In the advert, directed by Roberto Gavioli for Gammafilm, the driver raced on the Monza track in an Alfa Romeo Giulia GT. Recollecting that he used to fit Stelvio tyres, Fangio acknowledges, with his famous accent, that the Cinturato was "Extraordinario". The photos of the advert taken backstage by Ugo Mulas are also kept by the Fondazione.
The "Extraordinario" advertising campaign was created, also in 1965, by designer Pino Tovaglia.
The following year, in 1966, Fangio starred in the second series of Carosello advertisements for Cinturato Pirelli, directed again by Gavioli for Gammafilm. In these five short films, the driver reminisced about the most important moments of his career, such as the German Grand Prix of 1957, Monza in 1953 and 1956, Montecarlo in 1950, with two flashbacks of the Alfa 159 that won the F1 World Championship in 1951 on the Monza circuit. And the documentary made by Cinema7 Film about the man and his life of speed starts precisely from this two-year advertising campaign starring Fangio as an actor playing himself.