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Fangio's retirement


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#1 Joe Fan

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 17:55

Did Luigi Musso's death in the 1958 French Grand Prix influence Fangio decision to retire after that race?

I have looked in race reports and Karl's book on Fangio and it appears that Fangio's retirement wasn't announced before the event. However, in Karl's book, Fangio does state that he won his first race in 1948 at Reims and it seemed fitting that his last race be at Reims. His parents weren't in good health and the 250F was now totally outdated. These things contributed to his decision but I wonder if the death of Musso was sort of the straw that broke the camel's back so to speak.

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#2 David McKinney

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 19:14

Possibly.
He announced at the end of the 1957 season that he wouldn't be signing with anyone for 1958, but would just do races he wanted to - a fairly clear indication that he was heading towards retirement. I suspect it was the uncompetitiveness of the revised Maserati which accelerated his final decision.

#3 Don Capps

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 19:55

David is pretty much on the nose. Fangio didn't so much "retire" as he stopped selecting from the drives made available to him. It seems that he also saw that he needed to spend more time on "asset management" after the regime change in Argentina.

#4 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 19:56

When Fangio stepped out of his car after the race, he already had made his decision. At that moment he did not yet know about Musso's death, about which he learned only after the race when he went to the hospital.

#5 marhal

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Posted 07 February 2003 - 04:50

Hello..........


I think that the Fangio´s retirement was meditated during a long time. I read notices from 1955 (annus terribilis for motorsport) about Fangio was thinking to retire. We have to remember that in 1958 he was 47 years old, the times was changing, etc. and as a wise guy as Fangio was, he made a good movement.

#6 Joe Fan

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Posted 07 February 2003 - 06:05

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
When Fangio stepped out of his car after the race, he already had made his decision. At that moment he did not yet know about Musso's death, about which he learned only after the race when he went to the hospital.


Are you sure about this? In race reports, they mention nothing of Fangio retiring. Although he may have been considering retirement for a variety of reasons, I seem to think that the death of Musso may have been the straw that broke the camel's back. From anecdotes that I have read and received, it seems that Fangio took the death of other drivers harder than you would expect from someone with a dangerous occupation.

#7 paulhooft

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Posted 07 February 2003 - 16:30

“Down the years it has struck me countless times that no sport has so little regard for its heritage as motor racing. If you were to ask a contemporary F1 driver about, say, Jochen Rindt, the chances are you’d be met with a blank stare.” - Nigel Roebuck

Is that so???
Counting only the enormous list of books on car History, Marques, drivers, Auto Racing and its history..
all the models, videos..
No other sport I know has even 10 % of it,
I think it is quite the Opposite!!
Paul Hooft

#8 Don Capps

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Posted 07 February 2003 - 16:40

I have to disagree. Consider what is being said and why. As to the "enormous" number of books on automotive history, you mixing apples, pineapples, and kiwi fruit.

#9 paulhooft

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Posted 07 February 2003 - 17:03

When re-reading your statement,
I totaly agree with it, talking about most active racing drivers...
Otherwise, I think that Auto racing is well documented..
to well..
if they did it any better..
I had to find a much bigger home,
or my wife would move out!!
Paul :lol:

#10 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 07 February 2003 - 18:06

Originally posted by Joe Fan
Are you sure about this? In race reports, they mention nothing of Fangio retiring...

You are absolutely correct. When Fangio stepped out of his car, he did not make an announcement, he did not call for a press conference. But he knew then and there that this race had been his last and at that moment he did not yet know about Musso's death although he had observed his crash on the road, he had seen Musso's error but was not aware of the severities of his injuries. Fangio had contemplated to hang up his helmet before but had then agreed to do a few selected races during 1958. This race at Reims had convinced him to finally quit and I doubt very much that the Musso crash had anything to do with his decision.

#11 Arturo Pereira

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Posted 07 February 2003 - 18:31

Fangio had been thinking about his retirement well before Reims 1958 race. After the 1957 season he thought he was done with F1 racing, but he decided to continue racing in 1958 anyway.

Fangio said several times that he took the final decision while he was racing in Reims (1958), and that that was the first thing he said to his mechanic when the race ended and he jumped out of the car.

When asked about the reasons of that retirement, Fangio pointed out some images of his early days in Europe, when he could watch the great Tazio Nuvolari in his last days, being lapped by many younger and unknown drivers, his old magic gone, completely uncompetitive. He promissed himself then that he will never go that far. Fangio said this sad picture came to his mind while he was racing through the long straights of Reims, where he clearly felt signs of being tired, bored .... uncompetitive. He knew that his days as F1 driver had come to an end. There are pictures of Fangio right after that race ended and his face showed clearly his feelings.

Since his early steps in car racing in Balcarce, Fangio was an extremely competitive driver. He would have never accepted to race being uncompetitive (he, not the car), no matter how much money would be involved.

Arturo

#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 February 2003 - 20:38

Are there any of those pictures available?

#13 Vitesse2

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Posted 07 February 2003 - 22:08

Originally posted by Arturo Pereira
Fangio had been thinking about his retirement well before Reims 1958 race. After the 1957 season he thought he was done with F1 racing, but he decided to continue racing in 1958 anyway.
......
Since his early steps in car racing in Balcarce, Fangio was an extremely competitive driver. He would have never accepted to race being uncompetitive (he, not the car), no matter how much money would be involved.

Arturo


A few weeks earlier he had been at Indy, failing to qualify. It turned out that the car's chassis was cracked and flexed at speed, but the Americans had not believed him when he said the handling was impossible. I wonder if that episode might have had a bearing on his decision? Do you know if he ever spoke of this, Arturo?

#14 Arturo Pereira

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Posted 07 February 2003 - 23:14

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Are there any of those pictures available?


Hi Ray :)

Do you mean pictures of Fangio just after the 1958 Reims race ?? If that is the case, I have some of them in my HD. I will try to upload a couple later.

Arturo

#15 Arturo Pereira

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 00:14

Originally posted by Vitesse2


A few weeks earlier he had been at Indy, failing to qualify. It turned out that the car's chassis was cracked and flexed at speed, but the Americans had not believed him when he said the handling was impossible. I wonder if that episode might have had a bearing on his decision? Do you know if he ever spoke of this, Arturo?


Hi Vitesse2 :)
I can not remember if he ever spoke in public about these specific events, but I think that there were great chances that this episode had nothing to do with his final decission.
It could have been related with his retirement if he would have concluded that he was not driving well (by his standard of course :blush: ) at Indy. But if he was sure that the problem was with the car and not with his driving, as it really seemed to happen, then the situation would have never affected him in any way.

Arturo

#16 Jacar

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 01:18

Originally posted by Joe Fan
From anecdotes that I have read and received, it seems that Fangio took the death of other drivers harder than you would expect from someone with a dangerous occupation.

the book "fifty years of the formula one world championship" has a quote from Fangio upon announcing his retirement in 1958: 'I will never go to a race again, even to watch. They were my brothers - Faglioli, Marimon, Collins, Musso, Levegh, Ascari, Castellotti, Portago - and now they are dead, all dead. I will not go to a race again because the association is too painful for me.'

#17 marhal

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 04:54

Only for the records.........


After his retirement, Fangio came back to Argentina, invited to all his journalist friends to a dinner "only to say thank you for your support during my career". After the dinner, he gave to each journalist a gold medal as a present................. :up:

#18 Dennis David

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 05:23

Somehow I can't imagine Eddie Irvine doing that ...

#19 Ralliart

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 06:29

Fangio also had a big hand in the design and development of the Balcarce circuit, if I'm correct. What racing has been (is) done on that circuit? Anyone?

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#20 Roger Clark

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 07:41

In "Fangio" by Denis Jenkinson, he is quoted as saying:

"I'd has so much luck in my life, why tempt misfortune? In 1958 I was kidnapped in Cuba, had a car which suited me so little at Indianapolis that I could not race, and made a mistake at Monza when I came over for the 500 mile race. The next race was Reims. The clutch broke after 15 laps, While I was racing I started thinking: there's too many things going wrong this year, too many things against me. Wouldn't this be the moment to retire? All this while I ws racing. And I concluded: when I finish this race, I won't run any more. That was it. When my race was ended I gave the car back to the mechanic and told him: I retire. People thought it was Musso's death, but I hadn't seen Musso die. It was before going to the hospital where he was that I said I wouldn't race any more."

And later:

"Just before leaving my country , in 1958 our family doctor told me: 'Be careful, your father and mother are not so strong any more. After one of the recent races I found them very agitated,' If I went on, I might only prove that I was stupid".

#21 Arturo Pereira

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 16:27

A couple of pictures that were taken just after the 1958 Reims race ....

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Arturo

#22 marhal

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 05:38

Today I talked with a great friend of Fangio, and I made the question about the Fangio´s retirement. He answered me that it was a lot of circumstances, for example: His age, the italian cars was uncompetitive, the changes in the cars´technology, his Cuban episode, etc. Regarding the Balcarce circuit, actually is used only for Argentinian Championships, as Turismo Carretera, Turismo Nacional, etc, I was there in 1998 and it´s a very tricky circuit, unsuitable for single seaters.