Opinion in 1957 of the Top Drivers
Alberto Ascari, World champion in 1951 and 1952. He was the son, of Antonio Ascari, one of the most brilliant drivers of his time and, like his father, he was killed in action.
Alberto was practically unbeatable on the Ferrari during 1950, 1951 and 1952. In one of his last races, the Monaco Grand Prix, he took a nose dive into the Bay of Hercules after over shooting a comer on the front at Monte Carlo but he swam safely ashore, only to lose his life a little later during unofficial practice with an unfamiliar car on the race track at Monza.
Sir Henry Birkin
Tim Birkin was one of the heroes of the famous "Bentley Boys" period in the early thirties. Handsome, debonair, he always wore a white spotted blue muffler. He was the main British hope in the vintage days of the Tourist Trophy race when his battles with the German Carradola and the Italian Campari provided some of the most spectacular contests in racing.
He died as a result of blood poisoning which resulted from the mere chance of his leaning on a hot exhaust pipe after doing a great deal to enhance the reputation of British cars and drivers.
Louis Chiron has always been the darling of France although, in fact, he was born in Monte Carlo. A most distinguished looking man, he broke into the racing game in 1918 when he won no fewer than five Grand Prix races on a Bugatti, a car which he drove to many successes for years before he joined the Ferrari and then the Alfa Romeo teams.
His later association with the German, Mercedes team was not popular in France but all was forgiven when he returned to the French Talbot racing stable. Chiton has had one of the longest careers among racing motorists and has always been regarded as the Beau Brummel of the tracks.
Britain's No.2., in his late, twenties, was recognised by, Ferraris as a brilliant young driver and entrusted with a car in their all conquering team.
Is equally at home on track and road, with the all important facility of being able to nurse his car even when racing in the vanguard. Has several important successes to his credit and was unlucky not to win the 1957 Mille Miglia after leading for most of the way and then being eliminated by a mechanical defect.
Looks almost nonchalant while racing but ranks among the World's best.
In spite of his Italian sounding name Carraciola was German born and he contributed greatly to his country's supremacy in the thirties. His first success was in the German Grand Prix in 1926, then he won a most difficult race in pouring rain in the 1929 T. T. race in Ireland and went on to win innumerable Grand Prix contests.
He was the artist of his day, at home in any conditions. In 1946 he crashed badly on the Indianapolis track and retired after a fine and rather longer than usual record as a first class driver of international rank.
Juan Manuel Fangio, thrice running champion of the World, a handsome South American, shot into the headlines without any considerable experience. After a kind of speculative visit to Euro which was highly successful he signed up with Alfa Romeo, won a great crop of victories in his first year of real racing in 1950 and went on from strength to strength with Ferrari and Mercedes and completely dominated the Grand Prix picture for three years.
His forte is his approach to fast comers which is almost uncanny in its speed. In the middle forties he is still, by general acclaim, the greatest of present day drivers.
Our most brilliant driver and according to Fangio, the best of all the younger men. Moss was more or less born with a spanner in his mouth because his father and mother were both competitive motorists. Stirling Moss probably has quicker mental reactions than any other man. He is a complete master of the "drift" method of cornering and has been British champion for several years and runner up in the World title twice. He modelled his driving style, with outstretched arms, on Farina, but declares that he learned even more from Fangio. His ambition is to win the World title on a British car. In July 1957 he won the Grand Prix d'Europe at Aintree driving a Vanwal1
Bernd Rosemeyer was, next to Nuvolari the finest exponent of racing on the famous Auto Union car.
He, like Varzi, served his apprenticeship as a racing motorcyclist and in 1936 won the German, Swiss and Italian G.Ps., He was even more successful in 1937 but was killed in the following year while I attempting a record attempt when the wind literally blew his streamlined car into a tree.
The name of Dick Seaman is almost legendary. He began his racing career in his teens and, after some success on a French car, joined the Mercedes team as second string to Rudolf Carraciola.
His success in international racing was immediate and in 1938 he won the German Grand Prix, thus being the first Englishman to win a Continental classic within memory.
The following year, while leading easily in the Belgian Grand Prix, his car skidded on a slippery bend and he received fatal injuries. Dick Seaman's career was short, but it was sensational.
Varzi, one of the great Italian drivers in the pre-war years, first came into public notice when he won what was known as the motorcyclists' Victoria Cross in the Isle of Man T.T races.
After racing successfully for years he announced his retirement,before the war but, to everybody's surprise, turned up again in 1947 to win the Bari Grand Prix, to gain a place in several of the more important G.P. events and finally to succumb to an accident in the Swiss Grand Prix.
By general consent Nuvolari was the great maestro. A small, wiry man, he probably won more classic road races than any other man. Nuvolari more than any of his contempories preferred the .. skid and drift.. technique to the use of brakes.
During the thirties Nuvolari was almost unbeatable, and his sheer skill was such that he could nurse an engine even when travelling faster than any other competitor.
In his entire career he had only one accident and when he died, a few years ago, the whole of Italy went into mourning.