This motor-racing doc about the Ferrari team in the 1950s is strictly for the fanbase – an excuse to dig out archive footage of daredevil driving, glamorous cars and the sight of a winner being handed a pint of bitter on the finish line at Silverstone. It’s based on Chris Nixon’s ‘Mon Ami Mate’, a biography of Ferrari drivers Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins, both a picture of blond-haired boyish charm and reckless ambition.
‘Win or die, you will be immortal,’ Enzo Ferrari told the drivers in his stable – and a shocking number of them did die. Between 1950 and 1960, 39 drivers in motor-racing were killed behind the wheels of cars that, to us, look as sturdy as baked bean tins. The picture of Ferrari that emerges from the talking heads is a man with a massive appetite for glory: when a driver was killed during a test drive, he reportedly asked ‘How is the car?’
There are tales here of bygone gentlemanly sportsmanship, but the cost of motor-racing was high, and not just for the drivers. During a crash at the 1955 Le Mans race, the front of a car torpedoed through the crowd, killing 83 people (including children who’d been pushed to the front to get a better view).
Director Daryl Goodrich has access to all the right people, and his footage is nicely chosen, but ‘Ferrari’ is unlikely to convert non-petrolheads.