Alberto Ascari

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Alberto Ascari
Alberto Ascari.jpg
Born (1918-07-13)13 July 1918
Died 26 May 1955(1955-05-26) (aged 36)
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality Italy Italian
Active years 19501955
Teams Ferrari, Maserati, Lancia
Races 33 (32 starts)
Championships 2 (1952, 1953)
Wins 13
Podiums 17
Career points 107 914 (140 17)1
Pole positions 14
Fastest laps 12
First race 1950 Monaco Grand Prix
First win 1951 German Grand Prix
Last win 1953 Swiss Grand Prix
Last race 1955 Monaco Grand Prix

Alberto Ascari (Italian pronunciation: [alˈbɛrto aˈskari]; 13 July 1918 – 26 May 1955) was an Italian racing driver and twice Formula One World Champion. He is one of only two Italian Formula One World Champions in the history of the sport, and the only one to win his two championships in a Ferrari.

Early life

Born in Milan, Ascari was the son of Antonio Ascari, a talented Grand Prix motor racing star in the 1920s, racing Alfa Romeos. Antonio was killed while leading the French Grand Prix in 1925 but the younger Ascari had an interest in racing in spite of it. He raced motorcycles in his earlier years; it was after he entered the prestigious Mille Miglia in a Ferrari sports car that he eventually started racing on four wheels regularly.

Formula One/World Championship career

Following the end of World War II Alberto Ascari began racing in Grands Prix with Maserati. His team-mate was Luigi Villoresi, who would become a mentor and friend to Ascari. Formula One regulations were introduced by the FIA in 1946, with the aim of eventually replacing the pre-war Grand Prix structure. During the next four transitional years, Ascari was at the top of his game, winning numerous events around Europe. He won his first Grand Prix race in Sanremo, Italy in 1948 and took second place in the British Grand Prix the same year. Ascari won another race with the team the following year. His biggest success came when he joined Villoresi on the Ferrari team, and won three more races that year.

The first Formula One World Championship season took place in 1950, and the Ferrari team made its World Championship debut at Monte Carlo with Ascari, Villoresi, and the popular French driver Raymond Sommer on the team. The team had a mixed year - their supercharged Tipo 125 was too slow to challenge the dominant Alfa Romeo team so instead Ferrari began working on an unblown 4.5l car. Much of the year was lost as the team's 2-litre Formula Two engine was progressively enlarged, though when the full 4.5l Tipo 375 arrived for the Italian Grand Prix (the final round of the championship) Ascari gave Alfa Romeo their sternest challenge of the year before retiring; he then took over team mate Dorino Serafini's car to finish second. The new Ferrari then won the non-championship Penya Rhin Grand Prix.

Throughout 1951 Ascari was a threat to the Alfa Romeo team, though initially he was undone by reliability. However, after winning at the Nürburgring and Monza he was only two points behind Fangio in the championship standings ahead of the climactic Spanish Grand Prix. Ascari took pole position but a disastrous tyre choice for the race saw the Ferraris unable to challenge, Ascari coming home 4th while Juan Manuel Fangio won the race and the title.

For 1952 the World Championship season switched to using the 2-litre Formula Two regulations, with Ascari driving Ferrari's Tipo 500 car. He missed the first race of the championship season as he was competing for Ferrari at the Indianapolis 500, at the time a World Championship event. He was the only European driver to race at Indy in its 11 years on the World Championship schedule, but his race ended after 40 laps without having made much of an impression. Returning to Europe he then won the remaining six rounds of the series to clinch the world title (also taking five non-championship wins) and recording the fastest lap in each race. He scored the maximum amount of points a driver could earn, since only the best four of eight scores counted towards the World Championship. He won three more consecutive races to start the 1953 season, giving him nine straight championship wins (not counting Indy) before his streak ended when he finished fourth in France, although it was a close fourth as the race was highly competitive. He earned two more wins later in the year to give himself a second consecutive World Championship.

Following a dispute over his salary, Ascari left Ferrari at the end of the season and switched to Lancia for the 1954 campaign. However, as their car was not eventually ready until the final race of the season Gianni Lancia allowed him to drive twice for Maserati (sharing fastest lap at the British Grand Prix) and once for Ferrari. Ascari did at least get to win the Mille Miglia driving a Lancia sportscar in the meantime. When the Lancia D50 was ready it took pole position on its' debut and Ascari led (and set fastest lap) before retiring, meaning a full season of competing against Fangio's previously dominant Mercedes was much anticipated.

Death

His 1955 season started promisingly, the Lancia taking victories at the non-championship races in Pau and Naples, though in championship events he retired in Argentina and at Monaco, where he crashed into the harbour after missing a chicane while leading, reportedly distracted by either the crowd's reaction to Stirling Moss' retirement or the close attentions of the lapped Cesare Perdisa behind. He escaped with a broken nose.

Four days later, on 26 May, he went to Monza to watch his friend Eugenio Castellotti test a Ferrari 750 Monza sports car, which they were to co-race in the Supercortemaggiore 1000 km race (having been given special dispensation by Lancia). Ascari was not supposed to drive that day but decided to try a few laps. In shirt sleeves, ordinary trousers and Castellotti's white helmet he set off; Ascari was a very superstitious man and had previously always insisted on using his distinct pale blue crash helmet. His usual helmet was at the repair shop, having a new chin strap fitted after the incident in Monte Carlo. As he emerged from a fast curve on the third lap the car unaccountably skidded, turned on its nose and somersaulted twice. Thrown out onto the track, Ascari suffered multiple injuries and died a few minutes later. The crash occurred on the Curva del Vialone, one of the track's challenging high-speed corners. The corner where the accident happened, renamed in his honour, has been subsequently replaced with a chicane, now called Variante Ascari.

There were several similarities between the deaths of Alberto and his father. Alberto Ascari died on 26 May 1955, at the age of 36. Antonio Ascari was also 36 when he died, on 26 July 1925 (Alberto was only four days older). Both were killed four days after surviving serious accidents and on the 26th day of the month. Both had crashed fatally at the exit of fast left-hand corners and both left behind a wife and two children. Another curiosity is that the only other driver to crash into the harbour at Monaco in the circuit's history, Paul Hawkins, also died on 26 May. Hawkins crashed into the harbour 10 years after Ascari, before dying when his Lola crashed into a tree at a Tourist Trophy race at Oulton Park in 1969.

Motor racing fans from all over mourned as Alberto Ascari was laid to rest next to the grave of his father in the Cimitero Monumentale in Milan, to be forever remembered as one of the greatest racers of all time. His distraught wife Mietta Ascari told Enzo Ferrari that "were it not for their children she would gladly have joined her beloved Alberto in heaven". His death is often considered to be a contributing factor to the withdrawal of Lancia from motor racing in 1955 (though the company was also in considerable financial trouble, needing a government subsidy to survive).

Legacy

A street in Rome (in the EUR region) named in his honour, while both the Autodromo Nazionale Monza and Autodromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez have chicanes named after him. In 1992, he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. The British supercar manufacturer Ascari Cars is named in his honour.

Italian-born American racing legend Mario Andretti counts Ascari as one of his racing heroes, having watched him at the Monza circuit in his youth.

Racing record

Complete World Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 WDC Points1
1950 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 125 Ferrari V12 GBR
MON
2
500
SUI
Ret
FRA
DNS
5th 11
Ferrari 275 BEL
5
Ferrari 375 ITA
2 *
1951 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 375 Ferrari V12 SUI
6
500
BEL
2
FRA
2 †
GBR
Ret
GER
1
ITA
1
ESP
4
2nd 25 (28)
1952 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 375 Ferrari V12 500
Ret
1st 36 (53 12)
Ferrari 500 Ferrari Straight-4 SUI
BEL
1
FRA
1
GBR
1
GER
1
NED
1
ITA
1
1953 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 500 Ferrari Straight-4 ARG
1
500
NED
1
BEL
1
FRA
4
GBR
1
GER
8 ‡
SUI
1
ITA
Ret
1st 34 12 (46 12)
1954 Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati Straight-6 ARG
500
BEL
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
SUI
25th 1 17
Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 625 Ferrari Straight-4 ITA
Ret
Scuderia Lancia Lancia D50 Lancia V8 ESP
Ret
1955 Scuderia Lancia Lancia D50 Lancia V8 ARG
Ret
MON
Ret
500
BEL
NED
GBR
ITA
NC 0
* Indicates shared drive with Dorino Serafini
† Indicates shared drive with José Froilán González
‡ Indicates shared drive with Luigi Villoresi

Non-Championship Formula One results

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
1950 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 166 Ferrari V12 PAU
Ret
RIC BAR
Ret
JER NED
3
NOT ULS GOO
Ferrari 125 SRM
Ret
PAR EMP ALB
Ret
NAT
4
INT
Ret
Ferrari 375 PES
DNA
STT PEN
1
1951 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 375 Ferrari V12 SYR
NC
PAU
Ret
RIC SRM
1
BOR INT
DNA
PAR ULS SCO NED
DNA
ALB PES
Ret
BAR
Ret
GOO
ALT
1952 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 500 Ferrari Straight-4 RIO SYR
1
PAU
1
IBS MAR
1
AST INT ELÄ NAP EIF PAR ALB FRO ULS MNZ
Ret
LAC ESS MAR
3*
SAB
Ret
CAE DAI COM
1†
NAT BAU
1
MOD
1**
CAD SKA MAD AVU JOE NEW RIO
Ferrari 375 Ferrari V12 VAL
5
RIC LAV
1953 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 500 Ferrari Straight-4 SYR
Ret
PAU
1
LAV AST BOR
1
INT ELÄ NAP
5
ULS WIN FRO COR EIF
Ferrari 375 Ferrari V12 ALB
Ret
PRI GRE ESS MID ROU STR CRY AVU USF LAC DRE BRI CHE SAB NEW CAD SAC RED SKA LON MOD MAD BER JOE CUR
1954 G.A.Vandervell Vanwall Vanwall L4 SYR PAU LAV
DNA
BOR INT BAR CUR
Spa Lancia Lancia D50 Lancia 2.5 V8 ROM
DNA
FRO COR BRC CRY ROU CAE AUG COR OUT RED PES SAC JOE CAD BER GOO DAI
1955 Scuderia Lancia Lancia D50 Lancia V8 NZL BUE VAL
1
PAU
5
GLO BOR INT NAP
1
ALB CUR COR LON DAR RED DAT OUT AVO SYR
* Indicates shared drive with Luigi Villoresi
† Indicates shared drive with André Simon
** Indicates shared drive with Sergio Sighinolfi

Formula One records

Ascari holds the following Formula One records:

Record Achieved
Highest percentage of wins in a season 75% race wins in 1952, winning 6 out of 8 races
Highest percentage of fastest laps in a season 75% fastest laps in 1952, setting the fastest lap in 6 out of 8 races
Most consecutive fastest laps 7 fastest laps: Belgian, French, British, German, Dutch, Italian / '53 Argentine
Highest percentage of possible championship points in a season 100% in 1952N 1N 2
Most hat tricks (pole, win & fastest lap in same race) in a season 5 in 1952N 3
Most consecutive laps in the lead 304 laps in the lead between 1952 Belgian Grand Prix and 1952 Dutch Grand Prix
Footnotes
  1. ^ In 1952, only the best four of eight scores counted towards the world championship.
  2. ^ Record shared with Jim Clark in 1963 and 1965.
  3. ^ Record shared with Michael Schumacher in 2004.

Indy 500 results

  • Ascari was the only regular F1 driver to participate in the Indianapolis 500 while the race was part of the FIA World Championship (1950–1960).

References

  1. ^ a b Up until 1990, not all points scored by a driver contributed to their final World Championship tally (see list of points scoring systems for more information). Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.
  2. ^ Alberto Ascari Indy 500 Race Stats

Other references

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
inaugural winner
BRDC International Trophy winner
1949
Succeeded by
Giuseppe Farina
Preceded by
Juan Manuel Fangio
Formula One World Champion
19521953
Succeeded by
Juan Manuel Fangio
Records
Preceded by
Reg Parnell
38 years, 315 days
(1950 British GP)
Youngest Driver to score a
Podium Position in Formula One

31 years, 312 days
(1950 Monaco Grand Prix)
Succeeded by
Manny Ayulo
29 years, 221 days
(1951 Indianapolis 500)
Preceded by
Reg Parnell
38 years, 315 days
(1950 British GP)
Youngest Driver to score
Points in Formula One

31 years, 312 days
(1950 Monaco Grand Prix)
Succeeded by
Cecil Green
30 years, 242 days
(1950 Indianapolis 500)
Preceded by
Juan Manuel Fangio
6 wins
(19501952)
Most Grand Prix wins
13 wins
,
7th at the 1952 Dutch GP
Succeeded by
Juan Manuel Fangio
24 wins,
14th at the 1955 Argentine GP
Preceded by
Juan Manuel Fangio
40 years, 126 days
(1951 season)
Youngest Formula One
World Drivers' Champion

34 years, 16 days
(1952 season)
Succeeded by
Mike Hawthorn
29 years, 192 days
(1958 season)








Creative Commons License