The dogfight to become F1's first 'Alfa' male
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The dogfight to become F1's first 'Alfa' male

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Farina, Fagioli, and exciting newcomer Fangio staged a classic duel for the inaugural F1 world championship in 1950. But, while Farina won the war, it was the youngest of the trio - at 38, himself no spring chicken - with time on his side

The 'Three Fs' first performed in concert - for a royal audience at Silverstone - on Saturday 13 May 1950. A boy band they were not: their combined age was nudging 135 years. They were replacing a line-up swept away by accidents and illness within 10 months from July 1948: Achille Varzi (aged 43), Jean-Pierre Wimille (40) and Felice Trossi (41). And the car they were driving had first raced in August 1938.

Age was no barrier in this age of no barriers.

Two of the Fs were wealthy, privileged Italians, long on experience but short of temper. The third was an outlier: a humble mechanic from Buenos Aires Province. One of them was well past 50 and his pre-Second World War career had been curtailed by crippling rheumatism. Another had unwisely injured himself - just two months before the inauguration of the Formula 1 world drivers' championship - in a crash during practice for a Formula 2 race of marginal note.

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