Formula One racing has always carried the notion of being a rich-man’s sport. It came as no surprise when the first ever Formula One World Champion turned out to be someone who had had a privileged upbringing. Nino Farina was a strong and determined race driver who’s entire racing strategy was based on a highly volatile combination of self belief and plain raw courage. Although most of his opponents were much more talented than Farina, his reckless driving and disregard for personal safety helped him to the first ever Formula One title.
Farina always lived dangerously and had a career that was riddled by accidents. It came as no surprise as one day, his luck ran out on him and Farina perished in a road accident.
Giuseppe Antonio Farina’s father established a car bodywork shop known as Stabilimente Farina, in his home town of Turin, on the day Nino was born. Nino’s uncle, Pinin, also founded a coach-building firm in Turin, Pininfarina. The company, at later times, became rather renowned for their sleek and stylish Italian sports cars. Nino got into his first car, a mini version, at the age of nine. His first drive around the factory floor of his father’s establishment created a craving that lasted all his life. At 16, Nino was in a race car, although as a passenger along with his uncle, who participated in races quite frequently. At 19, he was ready to race and in his first solo competition, he began a dangerous trend that proved fatal for him. Nino crashed out of his first ever solo race in a terrible accident.
Farina was always athletic, as showed his skills as a runner and football player. He was also academically strong and got a doctorate in Law from the University of Turin. For Farina, the road to the World Championship title still was far off as he enrolled into the military service as a cavalry officer. During the war, Farina served in the tank regiment but the love for speed still nurtured itself at the back of his mind.
In 1932, Farina began his racing adventures with an Alfa Romeo. The honeymoon didn’t last long as he crashed the car in a hill climbing event. Not only was the car damaged, Farina also broke a shoulder and slashed his face badly. It hardly put him off of racing and he took to Maseratis for the next few years. Although he was a regular at accidents, Farina did have a unique driving ability and his skills were evident enough to attract the eye of a certain Enzo Ferrari. Farina, before he knew it, was in the Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo team. The instructional and incredibly inspirational style of driving displayed by Tazio Nuvolari was a great guiding force for an inexperienced Nino Farina. Farina blossomed under Tazio and in 1938, finished enough races as a winner to become the champion of Italy.