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Bandini

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When I was about twenty, I was able to get my own workshop and work for myself. Then, a year or two later I began with small vehicles... I began automobile racing. Step by step I made a name for myself. Bandini, what is the current world ranking of Formula One drivers? Well, Brabham's at the top with twelve points, I'm next with eleven points then there's... Surtees, Jackie Stewart and... and some others at the same level. Who's the driver who worries you most? Well, they're all dangerous opponents because they're all first-class drivers, so you can expect surprises from all of them during the race. Bandini, are you ruling out the possibility of going to Brands Hatch for the fourth round of the World Championship? Yes... There's absolutely no chance given all the controversy that's arisen. It's also a question of time; we haven't got time to go and race at Brands Hatch. For me, that race was very important, given that I'm ranked among the top drivers in the world championship. What do you think about Ferrari's decision to withdraw from racing? Well, it wasn't really a decision to withdraw from racing; at least, that's how I saw it. As long as there are things like this that don't work out the way they should, then unfortunately you can't make it to the race. As soon as it's been settled and everything gets back to normal, they will start racing again. Bandini, why did you decide to become a racing driver? First, I'd say because of, let's say, an opportunity a great passion both for racing and for car mechanics. I've made many sacrifices to become a racing driver and make a successful career in this field. And I don't know what led me to it. My first race was in a touring car; then I got the bug and it's never left me. Does a driver need to follow some particular athletic training regime? In a way, yes. Because auto races today are very very tough and for almost the entire race you have to stay at the limit, without wavering, so you have to be really fit well rested and above all not have any worries. And a great determination to win! In the opinion of the top racing drivers, which is the world's hardest circuit? Every driver has their favourite circuit; they can see a hazardous circuit as one that isn't dangerous, and vice versa; but generally speaking, when I talk to my, let's call them, colleagues, or companions, it's usually Nürburgring, because it's the most difficult circuit, full of bends ascents and descents, and there aren't any resources there because it's in the middle of a wood, so there's no good guardrail protection or anything, so it's also the most dangerous. Bandini, are you superstitious? No, absolutely not! Being superstitious doesn't make for a very peaceful life, especially when you're a racing driver, I'd say. Are you wealthy? No! I'm not wealthy. As I told you earlier, I had to start working and after many sacrifices I managed to buy some touring cars to race. Then, thanks to Mr Ferrari, he signed me up for his team even when I wasn't really a proven driver. After the withdrawal in Rheims, due to a minor accident, do you still hope to win the world championship? Well, yes, I hope so, I dream about winning the world championship and I'll do everything I can to win it! When you are given a car for a race, is it technically perfect? They are technically perfect, but they are never finished... because progress always pushes you to make changes, and more changes, so a racing car is always technically perfect but it will never be finished. How long do you think you will go on racing? As long as possible I hope, because the day I stop racing, I'll feel very old! When a driver has the chance to be world champion, and perhaps has to abandon that hope through no fault of his own, it isn't easy to be a tourist or to go out and have fun. Free time, for someone like Bandini, is just a word. On a go-kart, which for him is a toy, he is inexorably spurred on by his usual motivations. Montecarlo, 7 May 1967. Three years have passed since the world championship won by Surtees, Lorenzo Bandini is making his final preparations before going on to the circuit. Now he is the number one driver for Ferrari. Yet he came out of nowhere, built up his career day by day, starting from a simple mechanic's shop in San Cassiano. For the youngsters of the time he was an example. An example of a kid who had started from nothing and had made it by himself, thanks to enormous tenacity, enormous willpower, enormous dedication; and after he made it, he was still the simple lad he had always been. Since 1953, the year of Alberto Ascari's last triumph, no Italian had won the world title with Ferrari. Bandini was the great hope of all the followers of the red team, and he didn't want to disappoint them. Also because Montecarlo was his favourite circuit. The first world championship race was in Montecarlo. The famous Montecarlo! Montecarlo has always been a lucky circuit for you. Do you think you'll be back in the top places again this year? I always hope so, you always hope to be one of the leaders. When the qualifying sessions begin, Margherita, Lorenzo's wife, has a sense of foreboding. Yes, we're frightened, we're here to be close to our men. To push away the fear, we try to make ourselves useful, we time them, we count the laps. But the fear is there, it's always there. We're characters in this corrida too. The qualifying sessions go well, and Bandini has a first-row place on the starting grid. There is a mood of optimism among the Ferrari team. We were all convinced that this Grand Prix would be won by Bandini. The drivers get ready, tension mounts. Then the engines roar. Bandini gets off to the best start, and looks as though he can dominate the race. But as early as the second lap, things start to go wrong on the Montecarlo circuit. On the first lap, Brabham has a problem with his engine. It breaks down and loses oil on the circuit. The oil wasn't flagged, and on the second lap Bandini hit the oil from Brabham, from Brabham's car. At that point, his car spun and he lost four or five places. Everyone else got ahead of him, and that's when the tragedy began. Bandini throws himself into an all-out chase, but when he comes up behind Graham Hill he finds himself facing the consequences of an episode that had happened three years earlier. Hill hadn't forgiven Bandini for not letting him through on the day he, Hill, was fighting for victory against John Surtees. So now he gives Bandini a taste of his own medicine. The laps go by, Bandini is frustrated, and puts all his energy into the attempt to pass Hill. At last, he succeeds. Now he has only one driver to pass to win. But just as things were going his way, his Ferrari loses its pace. He came down the incline after the tunnel... In the cockpit, there is a worrying calm. I was sending signals... He wasn't responding any more. Bandini makes no response. Perhaps because he was distracted, or perhaps he was tired and disheartened. He crosses the finishing line one last time. Then the 82nd lap begins. On the Montecarlo circuit from where we're speaking a real tragedy is unfolding. There's a fire on the S-curve of the chicane. The car... The Ferrari is in flames, but the emergency rescuers are slow to arrive. Everyone thinks Bandini has been thrown out of the car. But he was not. It was only my heart, my blood, telling me what had happened. There was no need for them to say: "Listen..." I knew, I knew everything, I saw the flames, I saw the smoke, I knew. When at last the fire was put out, the true horror of the situation becomes apparent. All I thought was: "Well, even if he's scarred... as long as he's alive... As long as he's alive. When the doctor came out almost bent double, as if he was under a weight, that's when I realised there was no hope. Lorenzo Bandini fights for his life. After three days in the hospital in Montecarlo, that charming smile goes away forever. Fairy tales usually have a happy ending, but fate, as on so many other occasions in Formula One, decrees the cruellest end to this story, and we mortals have to accept its whims. I think everyone has their destiny in life. Not just a racing driver. If you're going to die, at a certain point, if fate dictates you must die that day, you'll die whether or not you're racing in a car. Forty years have passed, but when I watch the Grand Prix races on television and think back to how we were... We really were poor wretches, compared... Everything's changed. Women. Were there women in the pits? We were there, but we were different. We were wives or girlfriends. These beautiful creatures weren't there then. We were dressed the right way to be in the pit lane and take the time. We weren't.... As Enzo Ferrari said to me, I really did look like a "little country bride". A little country bride, that's what he said. Let me tell you about a photo, that I found recently. It's at a heat, and it's the pits at Monza. Lorenzo was in the pits adjusting his helmet or something, and leaning against the wall is a tool bag; that tool bag is the one I have at home, which opens like this. Well, that was the mechanic's trolley. Today, when you see the mechanics, the overalls, all the technology, it's incredible, it's really incredible. Yet they managed to race, they managed to build the cars, they still managed to race and to drive fast. How did you feel about Lorenzo's job? The emotional time was at the start. The start was a really emotional moment. Yet to be truthful, I can't say I lived the races fearing an accident would happen; because, ultimately, before Lorenzo's death, and if you think that in just the one year following Lorenzo's death, there were seventeen deaths, so many friends and everything. Before, there were a few accidents, but they were rare. Then you say, no, it can't happen to me. So... I didn't live with all this anxiety or fear. And when it happened, where were you? Well, when it happened I was in Montecarlo, I was in the pits. I was taking the times. He was second. He was in second place behind Hulme. I think the whole story about the accident is something... something complicated. Because Montecarlo in those days was 100 laps, and it was even more tiring than it is today. You know that it wasn't like it is now. When they get out of the cars now, they're not even sweaty. In those days, the races were really exhausting. In Montecarlo, Lorenzo was the object of many expectations. Many hopes were pinned on him. It was the first year he had been the number one for Ferrari, which was the pinnacle for him, the dream come true... Mr Ferrari had said to him quite clearly that they wanted to win in Montecarlo. He went off for the Grand Prix, and that disgraceful episode happened early on, and I've hated him all my life, Jack Brabham. I've hated him all my life, and as much as I've hated him, look how long he's lived. Because he was someone with no scruples, so when your engine breaks down... to be fair there weren't the escape lanes then that you might find today. But when you have an engine failure and there's nothing you can do, you don't cover the track with oil knowing your race is over and so many of your friends are racing. So when his engine failed at the chicane, on the following lap Lorenzo went into it. That's when he fell behind. Then, when he couldn't work his way up any further, for him... I think he collapsed psychologically, and then probably he... Because that last gesture I saw him make, that we saw him make, like that, with his hands on the wheel saying... That was the last thing I saw him do. I stopped watching Grand Prix races and now, for many years, when they're racing in Japan or something I put my alarm on for 4 in the morning to watch the Grand Prix. I really was one of the last poor widows, because there were no sponsors then, there wasn't anything. Lorenzo raced first in those blue overalls with Dunlop written on them then the white ones with Firestone but they had to pay for them. Dunlop and Firestone made them pay for them. But there was one sponsor... Lorenzo put on a pyjama jacket, he had to be in pyjamas. He put this foam on his face and he had to pretend he was shaving, and say, I don't remember what he had to say... they must have made him repeat it fifty times. Because he had the typical S and C of someone from Emilia Romagna which you could always hear when he spoke. But they made him repeat it dozens of times. And eventually they got there. We took back his pyjama jacket and they gave us, they gave him a box with twenty-four shaving soaps inside. Twenty-four! I looked at them, I still remember it now, I went out with my box of twenty-four shaving soaps, and while we were driving along, I said, gosh, but these advertising people are really nice! Twenty-four shaving soaps. And how pleased we were, how pleased we were.

Video Details

Duration: 22 minutes and 22 seconds
Country: Italy
Language: Italian
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 62
Posted by: gabriella61 on Jun 19, 2015

Video Bandini

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