Buenos Aires, Nov 10 (EFE).- The remains of Argentina five-time Formula One champion Juan Manuel Fangio (1911-1995) were transferred Wednesday to a mausoleum at the Fangio Museum in his hometown of Balcarse.
Scotland’s Jackie Stewart, a triple F1 champion who has described Fangio as the greatest racing driver in history, took part in the procession to the museum from a cemetery in the small city 400 km (250 mi) south of Buenos Aires.
Juan Jose Carli, president of the Fangio Foundation, thanked the driver’s children for agreeing to the relocation of their father’s remains.
“I don’t know if you know,” he said during a ceremony at the museum. “Jackie was playing golf when Fangio died and they told him that his friend and hero die. He immediately took a flight to bid him farewell at the wake.
Stewart and fellow racing greats Stirling Moss, Jose Froilan Gonzalez and Carlos Reutemann were among the six pallbearers at Fangio’s funeral.
The Scotsman, now 82, is the only surviving member of that group. “Surely Fangio must be looking down on us from above,” Carli said. “I have no doubt that he is looking at us from above and seeing this entire gathering of friends, friends from auto-racing and from life.”
Fangio took the F1 crown in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1957, and was the runner-up in 1950 and 1953. During that span, he drove for Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Mercedes and Lancia-Ferrari.
“He truly was the best racing driver in the world, there’s no one who has carried their country so proudly as Juan Manuel Fangio,” Stewart said Wednesday.
“I was here when he died, at the service, and I’m more than proud to be invited back on this occasion. To have Juan in his own home here I think is a tremendous statement, not only by your town, your families, but also the whole country of Argentina,” he said. “I can’t believe there has been anyone else so completely recognized and seen as such a magical man.”
“I was just a little boy when I first saw him drive in England. I’ve seen him win many races and I got his autograph and he became a friend, and that is more important than anything else,” Stewart said. EFE