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Fangio's companion


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#1 Gary C

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 20:39

Been looking at the 'Champion : Fangio' DVD today. One person always features in the after race footage of his races, obviously his companion at the time, indeed she seems to have been with Fangio for virtually all his career while racing over here in Europe. Can anyone tell me who she was and what happened to her?? He never married her, I wonder why as they were obviously very close. You wouldhave thought that he would have tied the know after he retired, for a start. Any ideas anyone??

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#2 ensign14

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 20:57

It could be Dona Andreina, who was married to someone else so JMF could not marry her. I think she's mentioned in one or 2 threads here.

#3 Doug Nye

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 21:27

Andreina - almost certainly. She proved 'difficult' in later times and I was led to understand by The Old Boy himself that there may have been some jiggery pokery - more of which I'm too polite to wonder - with Marcello Giambertone, Fangio's business manager/promoter... Juan referred to her in later life as "The woman"...I do not know whether or not such a term of reference carries with it any particular inference in Argentine Spanish - but this will be the place to find out! Arturo??? Felix??? Anybody???

DCN

#4 Marzal

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 21:36

In Spanish Spanish sounds well but Argentina is very far from here! :wave:

...who knows!

#5 Felix Muelas

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 22:06

I will like to hear Arturo´s opinion as Marzal is right when he points out that the Spanish (probable) version of "The Woman" (i.e. La Mujer) is normally used in a positive sense. On the other hand, it is possible that using "La" (the) instead of "Mi" (my) might not only make some sense in this case (she was effectively married to "Cacho" Espinosa) but might have a second reading in Fangio´s lips and I think Arturo might be the man to tell us about that. ;)

un abrazo
fm

PS : Ah! I was forgetting, but I shouldn´t :blush: Karl Ludvigsen! There are some pictures of "Beba" in his biography (Haynes, 1999) and I guess he might illustrate the point also...

#6 Doug Nye

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 22:36

Felix - tell us more about 'Cacho' Espinosa...... ????? ) :

DCN

#7 Marcor

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 22:42

I've 3 different biographies of Fangio (from 1958, 1961 and 1995). I know the 3 books are not the best but I've bought it as second hand (or cheap price). Two of them includes the same pictures with Fangio with Neubauer and Andreina.

#8 marhal

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Posted 07 January 2003 - 06:03

Hello...............I think you´re talking about Andreina Berruet, aka "Beba". She is the mother of Oscar aka "Cacho", the only son of Fangio (at least recognized by the Maestro). Probably they never get married because she was already married. During the years Fangio had several women, but in general he was very discrete with his private life. The last woman in Fangio´s life was a lawyer. In Argentina there was a rumour that the late Juan Manuel Bordeu (another great driver) could be Fangio´s son, but it´s only a rumour. Remember that in the old Turismo Carretera category the races had an enourmous distance (from 1,000 Kms to 7,000 or 8,000 kms), lasting many days, and the drivers traveled the country completely. Aditionally, they used to make tests, recognition travels, etc. so they spent the most part of the year outside their homes................ about Giambertone, it´s very posible that he was hired by Fangio for Beba´s recomendation............some days ago a Fangio´s closer friend told me that Giambertone claimed to be "Fangio´s manager", instead the Maestro called Giambertone "mi secretario" (my secretary).

#9 Doug Nye

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Posted 07 January 2003 - 08:43

Fangio was particularly dismissive of the alleged autobiography 'My Twenty Years of Racing' (I think) ''ghosted' by Giambertone. "He arranged to do it with The Woman - it was the cause of the trouble with Ferrari..." he said.

DCN

#10 Arturo Pereira

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Posted 07 January 2003 - 19:08

Originally posted by Felix Muelas
I will like to hear Arturo´s opinion as Marzal is right when he points out that the Spanish (probable) version of "The Woman" (i.e. La Mujer) is normally used in a positive sense. On the other hand, it is possible that using "La" (the) instead of "Mi" (my) might not only make some sense in this case (she was effectively married to "Cacho" Espinosa) but might have a second reading in Fangio´s lips and I think Arturo might be the man to tell us about that. ;)

un abrazo
fm

PS : Ah! I was forgetting, but I shouldn´t :blush: Karl Ludvigsen! There are some pictures of "Beba" in his biography (Haynes, 1999) and I guess he might illustrate the point also...


I agree with Felix that "My woman" would make much more sense. I use to talk about my wife as "my woman" and it is normal here when a husband talks about his wife, though the opposite is not that usual :blush:

Also "The Woman" (with capitol letters) could have a quite different meaning when compared with "the woman". The first one would denote admiration, while the second indifference, or something like that.

Knowing the way Fangio managed his personal affairs it would be very difficult to find someone who really knows what the Maestro thought about this matters (personal matters I mean). I would say that she was (only) Fangio's girfriend while he raced at Europe, period.

AS for Juan Manuel Bordeu having been Fangio's son, they were great friends and Fangio helped him when he started driving formula cars. Bordeu even started one F1 GP (1961 France), but an accident stopped his european career http://www.museofang...deu_cuadro.html . Bordeu followed a pattern that later was used also by Carlos Reutemann. Reuteamann had better success. Bordeu died in 1990 (cancer) at the age of 56.

Arturo

#11 paulhooft

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Posted 07 January 2003 - 19:20

I the Ludvigsen book is a story about a racing Belgium lady and a very well known high placed from Argentina...
Great stories...
Paul ;)

#12 petefenelon

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Posted 07 January 2003 - 20:51

Originally posted by marhal
Remember that in the old Turismo Carretera category the races had an enourmous distance (from 1,000 Kms to 7,000 or 8,000 kms), lasting many days, and the drivers traveled the country completely. Aditionally, they used to make tests, recognition travels, etc. so they spent the most part of the year outside their homes................


Reminds me of a wonderfully apocryphal Stuart Turner anecdote about the late Roger Clark when Roger was recce'ing the World Cup Rally up in the Andes. Turner claims he told Clark to investigate how altitude would affect stamina, and suggested that Roger should go out and find a local girl at about 12000 feet, make love to her and see how he felt.

Roger telexed back that he couldn't find a girl at 12000 feet but found one at 1000 feet and made love 12 times and felt OK. :p


pete

#13 cabianca

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Posted 08 January 2003 - 04:46

Fangio discusses Beba and the end of their relationship in one of his bios. It seems that in the days of GP travel, everthing was fine, but back at the rancho, "anything was an excuse to have a fight." So they went their separate ways. Fangio was the original avoid conflict guy. That's why Giambertone was around, to keep someone between Fangio and the press, the public, Fangio's employers, etc. It was Giambertone's bio, not Fangio's that made the most outrageous claims about Ferrari's efforts to undermine Fangio's success. Giambertone did the dirty work, so Fangio could remain above the fray. We're all familair with the legend, but IMO, he was a very complicated individual whose story has yet to be told.

#14 marhal

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Posted 08 January 2003 - 05:04

Anyway.........Fangio always was a low-profile guy..............and had an enormous patience. I don´t know how many times he had to talk about his debut in motorsport or about the 1957 Germany GP.........for me..........he is almost a saint.


By the way, very often the drivers get divorce after his retirement..................

#15 RSNS

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Posted 10 January 2003 - 01:15

Originally posted by cabianca
Fangio discusses Beba and the end of their relationship in one of his bios. It seems that in the days of GP travel, everthing was fine, but back at the rancho, "anything was an excuse to have a fight." So they went their separate ways. Fangio was the original avoid conflict guy. That's why Giambertone was around, to keep someone between Fangio and the press, the public, Fangio's employers, etc. It was Giambertone's bio, not Fangio's that made the most outrageous claims about Ferrari's efforts to undermine Fangio's success. Giambertone did the dirty work, so Fangio could remain above the fray. We're all familair with the legend, but IMO, he was a very complicated individual whose story has yet to be told.


That is an interesting opinion. Could you elaborate further? The way I see it, Giambertone was just grabbing the opportunity to sell a book. You may rest assured that Fangio was not involved in the actual writing of the book: otherwise how could he agree with the statement that Fangio's Nürburgring 57 victory was Gianbertone's doing?

As far as I know Beba was his constant companion during the GP years. They did not get married because, as already stated, she was married already.

Fangio was a most unfaithful lover, but he was discreet (and was helped by other people to keep Ardeina in the dark).

When he retired they had a fight in which things were said that could not be forgiven. According to Fangio, they no longer respected one another and that was the end to the liaison.

In latter days, Fangio spoke of the foolishness of droping a certain relation - perhaps with Beba.

#16 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 10 April 2003 - 17:31

Does anyone know what became of Beba/Andreina after 1960?

#17 marhal

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Posted 11 April 2003 - 05:26

Probably Beba is still alive in Argentina................his son Cacho, lives in Mar del Plata where he is the owner of a lottery agency......................

#18 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 11 April 2003 - 15:57

Originally posted by marhal
Probably Beba is still alive in Argentina................his son Cacho, lives in Mar del Plata where he is the owner of a lottery agency......................


A conversation with Beba and Cacho would be very interesting. Perhaps our Argentine connection can work on this. Given the current age of Beba, it would be timely to capture her perspective and thoughts on Fangio for posterity, assuming that she would be willing to share her thoughts.

#19 Magee

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Posted 11 April 2003 - 23:16

BTW: Excellent painting of Fangio at Nurburgring at this site:

http://www.kaneroger...editions/5.html

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#20 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 07 February 2004 - 01:18

An old thread, but some new information on this topic emerges from the latest tome on Fangio by Donaldson.

Karl Ludvigsen's excellent Fangio work from several years back included the following: "Andreina 'Beba' Berruet Espinosa and her husband - who somewhat resembled Fangio - had lived not far from the driver in Balcarce. Divorce not being a possibility in Catholic Argentina, Juan and Beba had no option but to behave as man and wife ."

Now in the latest Donaldson work, the following "....Beba had first come into Juan's life when she was living in Balcarce with her husband, a potato grower, from whom she was divorced soon after meeting Juan . Shortly after this, on 6 April, 1938, Beba gave birth to a son whom she named Oscar Espinosa. Though the indentity of Oscar's father remained in doubt - even Juan's family never knew for sure - it was noted that he had Juan's eyes, face and bowed legs. When the time came for 'Cacho' to go to school, Beba took him to Mar del Plata where she left him in the care of her sister."

Apparantly Juan spent much time with Cacho during the off season playing football with Cacho and his friends in Mar del Plata. Fangio allowed Cacho to use his name during the time he and Beba were together - some 20 years. Cacho had a minor career in racing and competed in the 1968 F2 Temporada Argentine.

At some point after the breakup between Juan and Beba in 1960, Cacho unsuccessfully sued Fangio for the right to continue using Fangio's family name. From what I have read and heard over the years, it would seem unlikely that Cacho, or Juan-Manuel Bordeu were the sons of Juan Fangio.

According to all of the books that I have read on JMF, Fangio had many, many liasons during his time with Beba, and these continued well into his later years, but Beba was the one great love of his life.

Donaldson includes some amusing scenes regarding Beba in his book, one of which takes place in the hospital after Fangio's near-fatal accident at the second Lesmo (Monza) whereupon on his second day in the hospital he partially awoke to find his hand being held one of his beautiful Italian girlfriends, who was wearing a nun's habit as a disguise used to persuade the sympathetic nurses to see her beloved. As she sat on the side of his bed, the feisty Beba enters and warily sizes up the nun. Not to be outdone, she grabbed Juan's other hand and held it firmly until two pretty young girls enter the room carrying a large bouquet of flowers. In fact the girls were Juan's nieces from the Italian branch of the Fangios, but were unknown to Beba. Needless to say, girls are quickly exiting the room in a classic display of Latin temperment followed by a hurled bouquet leaving the Italian nun girlfriend holding Juan's hand.

Another involves Fangio in 1991 at a function in London introducing the Moss/Nye book. "In the audience at the book launch, and carefully kept separate from one another by knowing friends of Juan's, were no less than 3 girlfriends of the Maestro, then in his 80th year, the twinkle in his eye undiminshed."

You have to admire the man for more than his racing career. As for the rest, it is most likely not of importance.

#21 Arturo Pereira

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Posted 07 February 2004 - 05:03

Dennis,

I can not understand how she was married with a man in Argentina, then she was divorced and after that she could not marry Juan being single again, even in the 'catholic' Argentina of the early 50s.

I would say that it would be better to define the relationship between Beban and Juan as a couple, as simple as that. They could show their relationship in the main european magazines (there are enough pictures of the 2 out there as to confirm they just did not care about being photographed together ... Silverstone 1956 just to mention one situation). The point was that Argentina if the early/mid 50s, as a 'catholic' society, did not accept very well that the most famous ever Argentine F1 driver could have had an 'unofficial' relationship with a woman, to all its effects. Considering the kind of regime that represented the government in the early 50s, I would not be surprised by the fact that that government acted as a censor of those kind of information, with the help of the main F1 argentine journalists, most of them receiving strong money aids from the same government. That government, imho of course, was inspired by the 30s italian fascism. If you look carefully to the way Italy (and also Germany) in the late 30s used sports to their political benefit, then you should not be surprised that a very good fascist pupil as Peron used public budget to promote certain sports and sportsmen, included Fangio. I do not mean to say that Fangio was #1 because of Peron influence. I mean to say that there are great chances that that political state of affairs could have influenced over the argentine journalism, to say the least.

On the other hand, it is well known how well Fangio preserved his private life until his death .... and it shows even nowadays :)

His relationship with Beba was public in Europe for almost many years, well after he got his 5th World Championship. If things were not clear by then was not because this is an obscure matter, but because it was part of his private life, the same as all the other relationships he could have had with other women.

In any case, he was gentleman enough as to keep all the affairs he was supposed to have had with many women in the private (and discrete) zone ... where they really belong imho :smoking:

Any other speculation is just that ... an speculation. THere could be a sort of historical interest to put some light to this kind of facts, but, considering that some of the people involved are still alive, for what I know, I guess that puting this kind of light on his mother's past is not very gentlemany, imho of course :)

Arturo

#22 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 07 February 2004 - 17:17

Arturo, oh dear, I fear that you have taken offense where none was intended.

I was attempting to point out, however poorly, that there are now two books by noted authors that offer differing accounts of the marital status of Dona Andreina. I don't know the answer to this, but the answer would put into the light the context of their relationship. I agree with you that in the final analysis they should simply be considered as a couple.

Fangio's sense of personal privacy and discretion is well documented, and in my view, to be commended.

The new Donaldson book puts into the public domain information regarding the relationship between Beba and Juan. In my humble view, none of this diminishes Fangio's standing as one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport. His near-mythic status is sufficiently large enough to withstand a minor degree of humanization. I have always held the opinion that Dona Andreina was an extraordinary woman, even more so considering the strictures of her world at the time. She was the only woman he acknowledged, and clearly the one true love of his life.

The illuminating backdrop of 1950's Argentina that you portray, particularly the Peron era, would not allow Juan and Beba to live openly in the same manner that they chose while living in Europe. The duality of that existance would shape and form to some degree who Fangio the man was, and likely contributed to the tensions between them. The post-Peron period and the resultant fallout was a prime reason for the delay in Fangio's planned retirement from racing in 1955 and prompted his return to Europe with Ferrari in 1956.

On a divergent note, I have always enjoyed those books that humanize our heroes, and that provide a more fully formed view of our heroes as people and not just as mere statistics and driving exploits. Not only the drivers, but their lives and exploits away from the circuit, not to mention the countless and oftentimes anonymous people in the back rooms that design and build these wonderful machines.

Among those that readily come to mind are Mon Ami Mate (Nixon), Cooper Cars (Nye), BRM (Nye), Villeneuve (Donaldson), Chapman (Lawrence), and various works on Dick Seaman to name but a few.

I had the opportunity to spend time on several occasions with Juan Fangio in Balcarce and Buenos Aires, and those are times that I will always treasure. For me, Fangio shall always epitomize the meaning of "gentleman".

Again my apologies if I inadvertently offended.

#23 Arturo Pereira

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Posted 07 February 2004 - 22:38

Hi Dennis :)

You do not need to apologize !! I am far form being offended !! I guess that the problem is more related with my not that good English. I speak Spanish and so there are great chances that I do not understand some words or phrases very well, and that I can not make myself clear enough when writing.

Glad you could meet Fangio. I had the same luck in the early 80s and we met several times since then. I can see we share the same opinion about him. A man that talked more with his silences and gestures than with words :)

I also agree with your comments about the publications that tend to humanize some popular men (or women). I think that the way Fangio kept his private life as private was most due to cultural reasons. He was born in a small town, base of an agricultural community where all people knew all people. I bet that this fact made him very conservative in many ways, even if the guys had to have fun anyway ;)

AS for his retirement in 1955, he was 45 by then and there were great chances that he was begining to feel the age. Maybe he was a bit old by the time he went to Europe for the 1st time, but being able to race those cars of the late 40s was his personal ambition. Racing with Varzi, Wimille, Nuvolari, Ascari, Farina ... for a guy with his origins that should have been like a day in paradise :smoking:

Arturo

#24 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 08 February 2004 - 00:42

:)

Way off topic Arturo, is La Cabaña still in operation. They served the finest steak I have ever had the pleasure of eating.

Your English is far superior to my Spanish at present. I'm very, very rusty.

#25 Arturo Pereira

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Posted 08 February 2004 - 02:15

Originally posted by Dennis Hockenbury
:)

Way off topic Arturo, is La Cabaña still in operation. They served the finest steak I have ever had the pleasure of eating.

Your English is far superior to my Spanish at present. I'm very, very rusty.


Hi Dennis :)

I am afraid that La Cabaña closed its doors some years ago. Anyway, you still have many choices here if you would want a fine steak. Restaurants like 'La Caballeriza', 'Hereford', 'El Mirasol', 'Cabaña Las Lilas', 'Rosa Negra' and many more are still bringing the finest steaks you can imagine :)

If you ever visit my country again, let me know with some anticipation so I can plan a sort of 'steak' tour ..... in addition to all the car racing sutff of course ;)