29 June 2023
Motor racing has changed significantly over the last 50 years; it is now far more complex, relying upon the driver, technical innovation, safety, financial deals, and TV rights.
In the Fangio era, drivers’ skills determined results almost absolutely.
To this day ‘El Chueco’ still holds numerous world records, including the oldest world champion. In the 1957 German Grand Prix, he became champion aged 46 years and 41 days.
Typical of Fangio, during the German Grand Prix, he fought a bitter battle with Peter Collins; Fangio stopped for a tyre change and refuel; he had a 30-second lead over Peter.
Unfortunately, he left the pits after 50 seconds (2-3 seconds in modern F1).
Despite this considerable time difference, Fangio somehow closed the gap, overtook Peter, and won with a three-second lead.
Juan Manuel Fangio was a fascinating man.
In 1958 he was kidnapped before a race in Cuba by Fidel Castro’s July 26th Movement and finished up sympathising with the Cuban revolutionaries.
Fangio never married, but in 2015 a court ordered that his body should be exhumed to determine his paternity over two men, Oscar Espinoza and Ruben Vazquez, who claimed to be his sons.
Both were confirmed as his progeny.
Judge, Rodrigo Cataldo verified a few days before the 20th anniversary of Fangio’s death.
He died on July 17 1995, aged 84.