|Distance||408,410 km / 253,774 miles|
||375 F1||3||Scuderia Ferrari||3.|
|11||Alberto Ascari||375 F1||4||Scuderia Ferrari||retired / gearbox|
|16||José Froilan Gonzales||375 F1||2||Scuderia Ferrari||1.|
|–||Peter Whitehead||375 Thinwall Special||014 C
Silverstone, 13th July – José Froilán González should be one of the most famous men in motor racing. He was the first man to win a round of the Formula One World Championship for Ferrari, and the first man to win a race for the Shell-Ferrari partnership, the combination that now fuels Michael Schumacher’s World Championship title defence fifty years later. On the fiftieth anniversary of his first win, Juan Manuel Fangio’s team-mate reminisced about the 1951 British Grand Prix.
José Froilán González suffered as a driver in many ways, thanks to the endless comparisons he had to endure. Any racing driver will testify that constant comparisons to their team-mates and compatriots add to the pressure they face, and José had to endure comparisons with the best drivers the world has ever seen. His fellow Argentine, Juan Manuel Fangio, went on to win five World Championships, and equally great drivers such as Ascari and Villoresi were his team- mates at Ferrari. At Silverstone on 14th May 1951, José let his driving do the talking, beating the rest of the field to take the chequered flag.
ýI think I was as fast as Juan (Fangio), but it is true he was more consistent as a driver,ý commented González recently.
Having travelled over from Argentina thanks largely to Fangio’s fame and support, José Froilán González pawned most of his possessions to afford the long trip to Europe and to race in the World Championship. He finished races with mixed results, perhaps further testimony to his self-confessed inconsistency, yet at times, his speed was unmatched.
Partly this was due to his lack of a base with a solid team. In Reims, two weeks before the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, José Froilán González had to surrender his Ferrari 375 to full-time team member, Ascari, whose own car suffered a breakdown. Ascari went on to finish the race in second position in González”machine.
ýAs I didn’t have an official contract at the time, I didn’t feel bad about that,ý admits a rather pragmatic González,”yet immediately after Reims I signed a contract under the same conditions as Ascari and Villoresi.ý This made González a full member of the team and the confidence he found as a result of that gesture showed just two weeks later.
ýI felt I could win the race, Juan (Fangio) even told me I was going to win,ý says González, and indeed as the master predicted, José Froilán González beat all contenders.”When we won, there were huge celebrations, even more with my compatriot, friend, godfather, Juan (Fangio) with me. The”Comandatore”(Enzo Ferrari) bought me a gold watch and when I arrived in Maranello a few days after, and he had a black and white picture of this victory in his office.
Silverstone, 13th July 2001 – On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the team’s first win in a Grand Prix counting towards the Formula 1 World Championship, Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo made the following statement.
ýThis weekend, in Silverstone, England, is the time to celebrate a very significant moment in our history. Fifty years ago, the 375 F1 driven by José Froilan Gonzalez brought Ferrari its first win in a Grand Prix counting towards the world championship.
Since then, there have been 646 grands prix and we have won 141 of them. Along the way, we have also recorded 144 pole positions and taken a total of 20 Drivers”and Constructors”World Championships.
A lot has changed at Ferrari between then and now. The only constructor to start the 1951 British Grand Prix was Alfa Romeo, while today the sport showcases the world’s premier motor manufacturers. Back then, Ferrari was just taking its first steps. Founded in 1947, it began gaining respect for its race performances, its daring technical solutions and for the exceptional qualities of its first Granturismo road cars. Today, Ferrari, which is proud to retain its small and exclusive nature, continues to design and produce its racing cars in their entirety, while having customers in around 40 countries worldwide, with the United States, Germany, England and Japan heading the list.
Back in the Fifties, the grands prix were only of limited interest, whereas today the races are followed, watched and discussed all over the world. Despite this and so many other changes, Ferrari has always been at the forefront of Formula 1 and today, as it was back then, our cars are red and carry the Prancing Horse emblem on a yellow background.
I learned from Enzo Ferrari to always look to the future and not to settle for ephemeral results of a moment and to work with obstinate determination, striving for further sporting and commercial success. The chromosomes at Maranello remain the same.
Here’s to the next fifty years!
Silverstone, 10 July – Sixty years on from José Froilan Gonzalez’s victory in the British Grand Prix, his 375 F1 car is back in action at Silverstone circuit.
Today, at 11.20, the car that gave Scuderia Ferrari the first of its 215 wins to date in the Formula 1 World Championship, will be on the grid for a photo-call and video shooting, along with Team Principal Stefano Domenicali and the drivers, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. After that, Fernando will get into the cockpit of the car, which is part of Bernie Ecclestone’s private collection, to do a lap of the track to celebrate this special anniversary for the most successful team in Formula 1.
“Sixty years have passed and Ferrari is the only team that can claim to have taken part in every year of the most important championship in motor sport,” commented Stefano Domenicali. “After that first win, so many others followed and with them, 31 titles – 16 Constructors’ and 15 Drivers’ – all part of what makes this team truly unique. Currently, we really want to add to that list of wins as soon as possible. That is the aim of all the men and women who work in Maranello and we know it is also what our fans expect of us.”
An exclusive interview with José Froilan Gonzalez will be posted today on www.ferrari.com.
Silverstone, 10 June – In four days time there will be an evening in celebration of Pepe Gonzalez, organised in Buenos Aires, by the Ferrari Club of Argentina, in memory of his British Grand Prix win. However, today is also special because the actual car driven by “El Cabezon” to record the first of Scuderia Ferrari’s 215 victories to date in the Formula 1 World Championship, will be back in action at the Silverstone circuit.
We got in touch with Gonzalez in Buenos Aires and asked him some questions which have come in over the past few days from Prancing Horse fans through the www.ferrari.com site. Here is that exclusive interview.
What do you remember of that day in Silverstone?
“I was very nervous before the start. Fangio told me he felt I could win and I knew I was in with a chance. There were four cars on the front row: the two Alfas of Fangio and Farina, Ascari’s Ferrari and my 375 F1. All four of us got wheelspin at the start and those on the second row passed by easily, so that I found myself fourth at the first corner, with Fangio and Ascari behind me. Then I got past Villoresi, Bonetto and Sanesi and, by the end of the second lap, I was in the lead. But Fangio was right behind me and then he overtook. I did not lose heart, because I knew Juan had to stop sooner or later to refuel whereas maybe I would not need to, so I stayed close for around 30 laps. When Juan pitted, I went by. In the Ferrari pits, they were worried I could run out of petrol so at one point they called me in and stuck 20 litres in the tank: but I still managed to get back on track with more than 50 seconds in hand over Fangio and, in the end I did not have to push so hard to the line and I won the race.”
What does it mean to you to be the first person to win a Grand Prix for Ferrari and therefore be such an important part of the Prancing Horse story?
“I only realised what winning this race really meant on the Wednesday after, when I met Don Enzo at Maranello. In his office hung a big photo of the win right behind his desk! He asked me to sign it and describe the race down to the smallest detail and then he gave me a gold watch with the Prancing Horse on its face. Only three days later did I really understand that it was a special victory.”
What does Ferrari mean to you? Are you still a fan?
“Ferrari is the very top level of motoring. For me, it’s always been a matter of pride to have managed to take this first win, especially when you consider what the marque has done in the past sixty years all over the world.”
Do you like the Formula 1 of today?
“Yes, there are some truly great drivers, even if everything is very different to my day. I always watch every Grand Prix on television.”
Would you change something about this Formula 1?
“It’s hard to say, because I see it from the outside, as part of the general public and I don’t see all the details.”
What difference do you see between the drivers of your era and those of today?
“Back then, we were amateurs! If at the start of your career, you didn’t have a helmet, you raced with something that kept your hair in place but did not protect you at all…Today, a lot of work goes into physical preparation, they all train on the simulator: we had no idea about that sort of thing.”
And comparing the cars?
”Even here there are so many differences: the progress made in terms of car technology is incredible. In my day, we only had the steering wheel, the gearlever, one for the brake and the pedals and nothing else. The most important thing is that today’s cars are much safer…”
What message would you like to send to all fans of the Reds?
“Ferrari is the top: it is always in my heart and it’s a passion that can be felt and experienced around the world.”
Among the many fans who wrote in to our site with questions for Gonzalez, we wish to express particular thanks to: Jeremy Montauzon, Cyril Grisvard, Guillaume Alvarez, Mark Stephens, Bobbak Rabiei, Saeedur Rahman, Cody Weston, Angelo Ricigliano, Matthew Betram, Marios Constantinou, Francesco Magaddino.
Suzuka, 5 October –Today is a special day in the history of Ferrari because it’s a celebration for a person who has written an important chapter in the Scuderia’s time in Formula 1. José Froilan Gonzalez, or “El Cabezon” as he is known has reached his ninetieth birthday. 61 years ago, on 14th July, he gave the Prancing Horse it’s first ever victory at the highest level of motorsport. Today the total number, thanks to Fernando Alonso’s nine wins in Red has reached 219.In fact, last year, Fernando had the honour of driving the 375 F1 that Gonzalez had taken to the win at the same Silverstone circuit and later that weekend, he drove the 150º Italia to victory. “Last year at Silverstone I had an unforgettable experience, winning where he won at the wheel of a Ferrari,” said Fernando in a video message he recorded for FOX TV, which was sent to Buenos Aires where, this evening, Gonzalez will be celebrating his birthday with close friends and family. “I want to send him my heartiest congratulations and wish him a happy birthday.”
President Montezemolo also wanted to send the Argentinian driver a message reflecting the high regard in which he is held by everyone at Ferrari. Montezemolo sent a special gift, consisting of two models; the 375 F1 and the 150º Italia, both cars winners of the British Grand Prix.
“For Ferrari, Froilan is a legend: In Maranello we have so many photos and items linked to his exploits,” continued the Spanish driver. “For me, it is a great privilige to be here on track at the wheel of a red car, trying to do my best. Then, when there are events like this, its a nice feeling within the whole team.”
Felipe Massa also had a message to send to Gonzalez: “It’s a great pleasure for me to be able to send to Argentina a message of congratulations for you, someone who is a part of the history of motor sport and racing, a fan of Formula 1 and above all of Ferrari.”
José Froilan Gonzalez took part in 26 world championship Grands Prix, 15 of them at the wheel of a Ferrari. His palmares features two wins at Silverstone, as in addition to the 1951 victory he also won the 1954 Grand Prix. Then there were seven second places and six thirds, as well as three pole positions and six fastest race laps. In 1954, teamed with the French driver Maurice Trintignant, Gonzalez also won the Le Mans 24 Hours, again at the wheel of a Ferrari.
Maranello, 15 June –A great friend of Ferrari passed away today, José Froilan Gonzalez died at the age of ninety in his native Buenos Aires. His name will forever be linked to that of the Scuderia; indeed he was the one, who on 14 July at Silverstone, sixty two years ago, took the Prancing Horse’s first victory in a Grand Prix counting towards the Formula 1 World Championship.“The news of the death of Gonzalez saddened me greatly,” President Luca di Montezemolo told ferrari.com from Maranello where he was attending a day for the families of all the employees of the company. “We had spoken not that long ago, talking about cars and racing, the topics he was most enthusiastic about. Over all these years, he was always very attached to Ferrari and, as a driver and a man, he played an integral part in our history. His death means we have lost a true friend.” The last meeting between “El Cabezon” and the team with which he was linked above all others in his racing career, took place appositely enough on 10 July two years ago at Silverstone. On that day, Fernando Alonso actually drove the 375 F1 that Gonzalez took to victory in 1951 in the British Grand Prix, an exhibition that had previously taken place back in 2001, when the Argentine driver was there in person to share the pleasure of the moment with Michael Schumacher. A few hours after the more recent demonstration, as if scripted by fate, Fernando won the race, to give the Scuderia its only victory in 2011.
“I only realised what it meant to have won this race on the following Wednesday when I met Don Enzo at Maranello,” said Gonzalez in an interview he gave to our website on the sixtieth anniversary of the Silverstone win. “In his office there was a big photo of the victory right behind his desk! He asked me to sign it and to tell him every last detail about the race and then he gave me a gold watch with the Prancing Horse on the face. Only three days later did I really understand that it was a special win. Ferrari is the top in the world of motoring. For me, it has always been a cause of pride that I managed to take this first win, especially given what the marque went on to achieve in the past sixty years all over the world.”