One of the more peculiar stories in Formula 1 this season appears to have finally come to an end after a judge in Argentina ruled that Oscar Espinosa is the son of five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio.
Fangio dominated F1 in the 1950s, taking world titles in 1951 and from 1954-1957 to rank as the most successful driver in the history of the championship until Michael Schumacher surpassed his tally in 2003.
Fangio died at the age of 84 in 1995, but a judge in Argentina ruled earlier this summer that his body would be exhumed to allow a DNA test to take place to settle a long-running claim from Espinosa that he was the biological son of the F1 legend.
According to a report from Clarin in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Judge Rodrigo Cataldo confirmed on Wednesday that genetic tests deemed that Espinosa was the son of Fangio, with an accuracy of 99.99985 per cent.
“You consider the fact that in the upcoming elections, for the first time, I will be able to vote with the surname ‘Fangio'” Espinosa is quoted as saying following the ruling.
Although Fangio died having never married and having no recognized children, Espinosa’s mother, Andrea ‘Beba’ Berruet, was known to have enjoyed a relationship with Fangio.
Esteemed F1 writer Gerald Donaldson even noted in his biography on Fangio that “though the identity 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.”
Espinosa will formally take on the Fangio name in the coming days once an official final ruling is offered.
Interestingly, another paternity case concerning Fangio is concurrently taking place in Buenos Aires following a claim by Ruben Vazquez.
“The paternity request was started a long time ago and I’ve had to overcome a lot of blockages and obstacles,” Vazquez told Reuters back in August.
“There are no economic interests in my request. I just want to be recognised for the Fangio surname.
“I have no contact with the Fangio family and of course I’d like to know them.”
Vazquez claims that his mother, Catalina Basili, confirmed to him ten years ago that Fangio is his father, and will have his case ruled on later this week.