“A Life of Speed: The Juan Manuel Fangio Story” is the newest Formula 1 documentary. Released on Netflix March 20, the documentary puts the spotlight on one of the greatest drivers to ever be in the sport.
Throughout the movie, we’re shown the life that the Argentinian went through during the 1940s and 1950s, when auto racing was still a fledgling sport across the world. There weren’t as many safety regulations in place and it was a lot harder for people to make a living.
I never really knew much about Fangio before watching this, only that he’d been one of the better drivers in history given his record in the sport.
Not only did I enjoy watching his own life documented, but I also thought it was intriguing how the documentary portrayed different events throughout his career years that affected Fangio’s Formula One career — the worst of which was at the 1955 Le Mans race, which would see Mercedes-Benz pull out of motorsport altogether after a horrific crash that took the lives of both a driver and spectators at the French race.
The one thing in the documentary that kept me glued in was the reference of a university study that was being done throughout the film. A professor at Sheffield University had put together a statistical study to determine who was the best driver in Formula One. Much like any study, it’s not perfect by any means, but it’s still fascinating to see someone take a cliché sports debate and actually put it to numbers.
While there aren’t a ton of fans of fast cars going around in set shapes, whether it’s NASCAR or other types of racing, I still highly recommend this documentary. The amount of research done on Fangio, along with the voices that show just how much of an influence he’s had on the sport, makes this documentary a hit.
Jackie Stewart, a former world champion himself, put it in terms people could understand with the description of the funeral procession in Argentina for Fangio, who had passed away at the age of 84 in 1995. As Stewart and the rest of the people moving his coffin went through the streets, Stewart described it as being dead silent before one person started to applaud, which led to the entire street being flooded with the sounds of clapping.
The reason I like to follow sports in general is for things like this. Behind all of the showmanship and competition, it’s things like this that demonstrate just how much influence someone can carry in their lifetime. Everyone in the documentary speaks highly of Fangio and, given everything that happened within the aces career, it is well-deserved. Perhaps if you watch this for yourself, you’ll be able to see just why this man is considered to be one of the greatest to ever step foot in Formula One racing.
“A Life of Speed: The Juan Manuel Fangio Story” is rated TV-14 and now available for streaming on Netflix.