In our ‘Throwback Thursday’ series, I take a trip down memory lane when my brother J and I attended a screening of Andrea Marini’s film Ferrari 312B Where The Revolution Begins at The Design Museum in Kensington.
Having previously attended the Ferrari Under The Skin exhibition earlier that day this was a good way to finish things up on our trip out.
We arrived early for the screening and took our seats in the auditorium. As well as a decent sized screen, there was a glass table with two chairs underneath the centre of the screen and a lectern set up to the right of the screen. It looked like we were in for a surprise either before or after the film.
A door to the right opened and Sumitra Upham of the Design Museum took to the lectern to introduce two guests who would go on to introduce and give background and insight to the film. They are also in the film.
First to be introduced was Bob Constandorus. Bob started out as a freelance motorsport journalist and in 1972 wrote for Autosport Magazine until 1977. Bob then went freelance again driving to Grand Prix’s around Europe. Bob began announcing, conducting press conferences and interviewing drivers and team members during the 1980’s and has since attended over 550 Grand Prix.
The second guest was Nigel Roebuck. Nigel started out as a freelance journalist in the early 1070’s writing articles for several magazines. In 1975, Nigel became the press officer for the Embassy Hill F1 team and began writing for Autosport Magazine as the Grand Prix correspondant. Nigel left Autosport in 2007 to become editor in chief at Motorsport Magazine. In 2017, Nigel left Motorsport Magazine and returned to Autosport Magazine.
Bob and Nigel set the scene for the film, in 1969, Ferrari were not in good place, they were being dominated by the Ford Cosworth engine that won all of the F1 races during the season, and in the sports car arena Porsche were king. At the end of the F1 season Chris Amon left Ferrari after coming 12th in the F1 standings. They were also poverty stricken with an unsophisticated factory. Something would need to change in order for Ferrari to continue racing. In 1970, Jacky Ickx returned to Ferrari from Brabham and was joined by Clay Regazzoni to complete the driver line up. Designer and Engineer Mauro Forghieri came up with a car that had a Flat 12 engine giving the car a lower centre of gravity and giving clear airflow beneath the rear wing. This and a cash injection from Fiat would be key to reviving Ferrari’s winning ways.
The film is based around Paolo Barilla (ex Minardi F1 driver and Pasta Family Heir) buying a Ferrari 312B’s that is in pieces with the aim of completely restoring it in two years and racing it at the 2016 Monaco Historic Grand Prix. Helping Paolo to achieve his goal are his mechanic Stefano Calzi and the the original designer and engineer of the car Mauro Forghieri. Now 83 years old Forghieri is still very passionate and does get angry at people at times during the restoration.
Interwoven with the restoration are interviews with racing drivers Jacky Ickx, Clay Regazzoni, Nikki Lauda, Sir Jackie Stewart, Damon Hill and Gerhard Berger and journalists Bob Constandorus, Nigel Roebuck and Giorgio Terruzi. These interviews give the film depth and insight into how this car brought Ferrari a new decade of success. There is also footage of the 312B in action from the 1970 season.
It’s worth noting that due to the 312B in the decade that followed, Ferrari scored 37 victories and 4 constructors titles. This film has been beautifully shot and is well worth watching, while it is about a racing car, its also about the people behind it.
I would like to thank the Design Museum for showing the film and thanks to Nigel Roebuck and Bob Constandorus for taking time to talk to me after the film had finished. Below is a link to a trailer of the film