The Man: Fangio_

5w ago

2.8K

He came from the land of Asado, Mate and Tango but he probably never actually danced once, because he was fundamentally shy and because he was bowlegged.

Juan Manuel Fangio, 5-time world champion, like Lewis and before Lewis and, some would say, in an F1 world that was tougher than the one Lewis is experiencing. But that's speculation because there is no way to assess whether this is better than that, or whether that was harder than this. This has been discussed over and over again, talking about glory and resume, but perhaps this isn't about honours and titles, it's more about nostalgia.

Fangio was born in Balcarce, Argentina, in dire straits, and he grew up wanting to play football. He was left-footed and very good at it, he knew how to "bend it". He gave up his studies to work as a mechanic and he never actually took part in any race until 1938, aged 27, when he race a Ford V8 at the "Turismo Carretera", a touring car rally series in Argentina.

Fangio had a complicated relationship with Enzo Ferrari, the two of them never really got along. Fangio was fast and silent, never really outspoken and always reluctant to give in to levity. They shared incredible success but they never really warmed each other's heart.

ph: getty

He debuted in Formula 1 in 1950, aged 39. He came, he won, he left. Retiring just 8 years after, in 1958, after he'd seen too many colleagues and friends die at the wheel during those years when F1 was indeed a dangerous sport. He set several records, many of which still stand today. Oldest world champion at 46, highest percentage of wins and poles. But we don't remember him for the records. We think of him as a legend.

He died, aged 84, in his hometown in Balcarce, in 1995.

ph: IMDB

Now, in 2018, we've got memories of him, photographs and details, and we even have a museum, in Balcarce of course, dedicated to him.

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Comments (6)
  • During a trip to Havana I visited the hotel he was kidnapped from.

    A truly great driver.

    1 month ago
    1 Bump
    • I heard about that. I heard about a plaque and yes, apparently there really is one

      1 month ago
      1 Bump
    • It’s understandable, but no one I talked to in Havana knew anything about him.

      Kind of sad.

      1 month ago
      1 Bump
  • And, of course, he was lead racer for Mercedes in the great (and tragic) Jaguar vs. Mercedes Lemans showdown in 1955.

    1 month ago
    • he's done so many things. I wish I could write about them all. Problem is, the article would be a million words long

      1 month ago

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