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Home   /   A Life of Speed: The Juan Manuel Fangio Story -Review

Juan Manuel Fangio, the five-time Formula One World Champion even 25 years after his death is showcased in this documentary as a true great of F1.

This hour and a half film doesn’t just show off the greatness of Fangio but also the bravery, comradery and dedication that every racing driver had to have in the early days of Formula One. Netflix don’t only focus on the intense and exciting parts of being an F1 driver back in the early 50’s, but also the difficult and gut-wrenching truth that many taking part in motor sport back then were going into races knowing that taking part could quite easily kill them.

Throughout all of the interviews in this documentary it is clear to see the admiration and respect that many held and still do hold for Fangio. For example when Sir Jackie Stewart was talking about driving in Monaco in his first ever race overseas: “The most important thing that happened was when I won the race I was still in the car and the first man that came to shake my hand was Juan Manuel Fangio. For me it was a dream cause he was my ultimate hero.”

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Coming into this documentary you wonder whether this is just going to be a play by play of the highlights of Fangio’s life and some interviews here and there of people talking about how amazing he was. The director Francisco Macri clearly worked hard in making sure that the viewer comes away from his creation knowing something that they most likely didn’t know before, whether it be a story about Fangio himself, an insight into the difficulties that racing drivers face or a fascinating racing moment that they haven’t heard before.

A surprising but impactful choice that was made when creating this film was including a university students research into who is the best racing driver of all time. At first one may argue that this part was not necessary to help tell the story of Fangio’s life, but as the documentary progresses you find yourself more and more impressed by Fangio’s high rankings in all the different sections of Andrew Bell’s research. The inclusion of this to the documentary really helps highlight how talented Fangio truly was to the viewer. It is easy to forget that the drivers who were stars in the early days of F1 were just as skilled as the stars of F1 today, even if the stats such as the most GP wins and the most world championships seem to suggest otherwise. Andrew Bell even goes on to explain that Fangio placed first in his research when it came to racing in the rain and in the dry.

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Overall if you are someone who wants to learn more about Fangio and how gifted he truly was, or you want to understand more about what it is like to drive in F1 through the voices of Jackie Stewart, Mika Hakkinen and Nico Rosberg then this documentary is for you.

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July 2024