That calling himself Fangio ...

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Juan Manuel Fangio

Like his famous uncle, a five-time Formula 1 champion, Juan Manuel Fangio II chose motorsport as a way of life. After passing through the Argentine minor categories and even a short-lived stage in the International Formula 3000, he packed his suitcases and continued his campaign in the United States due to the impossibility of making a stop at the Máxima. In the land of Uncle Sam he added experience in the Indy Lights and in the early 1990s he was two-time IMSA champion (1992 and 1993) with Dan Gurney's legendary All American Racers team. He even had the pleasure of running some seasons in the CART, also with the AAR. Some time ago I had the opportunity to interview him and the talk led to his lineage and, of course, El Chueco ...

-Was the name you have a weight in your sports campaign?
-I was born with that name, but in my case things happened naturally. I started at 23 very naturally. I was not pressured by people's comments. That they compared me with my uncle encouraged me, since they did it with a guy who won five world championships. That was important to me and I felt unspoken pride ...

- Did your successes in American motorsport help you to show that you had arrived on your own merit?
-Going up to a podium serves to dedicate it to the people who work with you. Winning a race is a personal and group achievement. If you win because the one who was ahead stayed, that is to come second ... To win for me was to give satisfaction to the people who had played with me and it helped me to say that I had a good sports campaign. It was like putting the bow on her. If it's not like getting married without a party.

-Did you feel anything special when Michael Schumacher broke your uncle's record?
-Before Schumacher won the fifth title, I said that the greats are great beyond the championships. Ayrton Senna was a great and won three titles. They are big period. That someone else has won two or three more championships than my uncle does not change anything. Look at it this way: Fangio won five titles and is a giant, then another comes and wins more titles. Is that why Fangio stops being a giant? No. I think a man cannot be measured that way.

-What was the most important thing you learned after so many years of racing?
-That you have to do everything with passion… And that was taught to me by my father, my uncle and Dan Gurney. If a boy comes to me and says "I want to get to Formula 1" there is a 90% chance that he does not like to run. If you are thinking of glory, you are thinking wrong. Being able to give an engineer or a mechanic the data to make a car fly is a huge satisfaction. An impeccably tuned car is magical. The most important thing is to live for that passion. Live to walk fast. The guy who paints and is starving is also playing for his passion and much more than that.

-You mentioned Gurney, what memory do you have of him?
-He's a guy who made me believe in the impossible. We were far from fighting the IMSA championship and slowing down the Indys and we did it three times: twice with the Toyota and once with the Jaguar. I was very lucky to have been with him. In Argentina it would have been a great one.

-What was the best and worst thing that you got from motorsport?
-The best thing was meeting people who gave me good energy. Both in the United States and in Argentina. One of the people who helped me a lot was Osvaldo Antelo at the time of Formula 2. There are also those magical moments that you live inside the car when you feel yourself flying. That is priceless. Look: many leave a life of struggle for a minute of glory. I had more than minutes of glory. The worst was the return to Argentina, definitely. I had everything to stay, they even told me that they were going to incorporate a tester so that I would not have to do tests and have more time for myself. They even waited for me up to a week before starting the championship. But I had already begun to feel the fatigue, the one that makes you angry beyond being able to run.

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Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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