Remembering Alboreto

Ferrari icon in the 80s, the Italian was close to win the championship in 1985. More than 190 GPs raced speak for his persistence until a tragic accident in 2001 killed him.
Thursday, March 24, 2011

Michele Alboreto was an Italian racing driver born in Milan on December 23, 1956. For many, it was the last great Italian driver who drove a car from the Prancing Horse team.

In his early days, along with several friends Alboreto built basic prototypes cars with which he learned to drive. Always attentive to the mechanical side, he improved his driving on the Monza Formula and finally made it to the Formula 3 in 1978; finishing 3rd the following year in the Italian F3 series. In 1980 he continued his ascent to compete in the European Championship, while driving for Lancia. When becoming the champion in Euroracing, he was chosen to be a pilot for Minardi in Formula 2 for 1981. Alboreto won the only F2 race in the history of Minardi, and in return he made his debut that year in F1 in the San Marino Grand Prix driving for Tyrrell.

After graduating from F1, Alboreto won two GPs (both in the U.S.) in consecutive years (since '82), allowing him to be signed by Ferrari for the 1984 season, the year he continued his winning streak by placing first in Belgium. However, it was in the 1985 championship where Alboreto had its chance to become a world champion. Having won in Canada and Germany, more than half of the calendar, he was in a struggle with Alain Prost, but the fragility of the Ferrari of the 80s played a trick on him and was unable to finish a race in the last four races.

Alboreto's driving in his Ferrari declined, and Ferrari was struggling to build a winning car. Therefore, on 1989 he was back with Tyrrell in another unsuccessful attempt to compete at the highest level. His F1 career continued between small teams, including Minardi in 1994, which played his last Grand Prix at the end of the calendar in Australia.

During his career at the "big tent", Michele Alboreto participated in 194 Grand Prix, emerging victorious in 5 opportunities and made the podium in 23 chances.

After finishing his career in F1, Alboreto continued his career as a pilot in other categories as the IndyCar Series. However he had other important successes as the victory of the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans with his former teammate Stephan Johansson from Ferrari, and in 2001, the 12 Hours of Sebring.

Tragically, Michele Alboreto died in Lausitzring, Germany, when a tire of an Audi R8 he was testing, exploded at high speed causing his car to veer of track and crash into a wall, killing him.

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