Ruben Juan Fangio was the son of five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio, but he didn’t know about it until age 63.
Juan Manuel Fangio hailed as one of the best F1 drivers in the history of the sport, certainly had a secret life. So much that his son Ruben Juan Fangio didn’t know the identity of his real father until he turned 63.
And that made him a millionaire after a 13-year-long legal battle. According to the BBC, while working at a seaside hotel in Argentina, Ruben was told by a customer that he was the spitting image of Argentine Formula 1 champion Juan Manuel Fangio.
The customer also told him that Fangio might have had a son his age. So, he suggested that he should get it checked. Initially snubbing the idea, Ruben still asked his mother, Catalina Basili, what she made of the tale.
At that time, she outright denied it. However, five years later, when she was 90, she confessed that her son was indeed the child of Fangio, born through forbidden love.
After that, Ruben decided to seek a lawyer’s help. Meanwhile, Basili decided to aid her son in being registered as Fangio’s son. But it also came with a lengthy legal battle.
Going through a lengthy legal battle to be the son of Juan Manuel Fangio
Ruben’s legal battle to validate his actual identity almost took 13 years. The Argentine had to undergo various tests like a DNA exam, and then his voice pattern was analysed and compared to his father’s by a US expert.
After this, this saga’s final stage was Ruben inheriting Fangio’s wealth. Moreover, he also got the revenue share from the advertisements and use of the name worldwide.
“It has been a long race, a long battle,” says Ruben, “but once I learnt I was Fangio’s son, I didn’t hesitate or have any doubts (about paternity).”
“I was thrilled my true identity had been acknowledged,” he told BBC News Brazil, “and of course, for being the son of a racing legend, the man who won the Formula 1 World Championship five times.”
Finding a brother
The unprecedented revelations didn’t end for Rubens over here. Oscar ‘Cacho’ Fangio was a former F3 driver four years his senior. According to the source, he and his mother actually lived with Fangio.
Fangio never had an official child and led a very discreet life. However, the DNA tests have confirmed that Ruben, in fact, is the half-brother of Oscar.
— Charles Leclerc Fan Page (@LeclercNews) July 8, 2018
The duo met when they were in their 70s but have been calling each other brothers since then. The two have been travelling the world together. According to their respective lawyers, Ruben and Oscar are the only two officially recognised heirs of Fangio.