Elio de Angelis

Last updated

Elio de Angelis
Anefo 932-2371 Elio de Angelis 03.07.1982.jpg
De Angelis at the 1982 Dutch Grand Prix
Born(1958-03-26)26 March 1958
Rome, Italy
Died15 May 1986(1986-05-15) (aged 28)
Marseille, France
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality Flag of Italy.svg Italian
Active years 19791986
Teams Shadow, Lotus, Brabham
Entries109 (108 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 2
Podiums9
Career points122
Pole positions 3
Fastest laps 0
First entry 1979 Argentine Grand Prix
First win 1982 Austrian Grand Prix
Last win 1985 San Marino Grand Prix
Last entry 1986 Monaco Grand Prix
British Formula One Championship career
Active years 1978
Races1
Championships0
Wins0
Podium finishes1
Career points12
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0

Elio de Angelis (26 March 1958 – 15 May 1986) was an Italian racing driver who participated in Formula One between 1979 and 1986, racing for the Shadow, Lotus and Brabham teams. He was killed in an accident while testing the Brabham BT55 at the Paul Ricard circuit, near the commune of Le Castellet, France, in 1986. De Angelis was a very competitive and highly popular presence in Formula One during the 1980s, and is sometimes referred to as Formula One's "last gentleman player". [1]

Formula One is the highest class of single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and owned by the Formula One Group. The FIA Formula One World Championship has been one of the premier forms of racing around the world since its inaugural season in 1950. The word "formula" in the name refers to the set of rules to which all participants' cars must conform. A Formula One season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix, which take place worldwide on purpose-built circuits and on public roads.

The 1979 Formula One season was the 33rd season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1979 World Championship of F1 Drivers and the 1979 International Cup for F1 Constructors which were contested concurrently over a fifteen-round series which commenced on 21 January 1979, and ended on 7 October. The season also included three non-championship Formula One races. Jody Scheckter of Scuderia Ferrari won the 1979 World Championship of F1 Drivers while Scuderia Ferrari won 1979 International Cup for F1 Constructors. Gilles Villeneuve made it a 1–2 for Ferrari in the championship, concluding a successful second half of the 1970s for Ferrari. Alan Jones finished the season strongly for Williams, finishing third in the championship and with teammate Clay Regazzoni scoring Williams's first ever Grand Prix win as a constructor. Scheckter's title was Ferrari's last drivers' title for 21 years, before Michael Schumacher won five consecutive titles for the team between 2000 and 2004.

1986 Formula One World Championship sports season

The 1986 FIA Formula One World Championship was the 40th season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1986 Formula One World Championship for Drivers and the 1986 Formula One World Championship for Manufacturers, both of which commenced on 23 March and ended on 26 October after sixteen races. The Drivers' Championship was won by Alain Prost, and the Manufacturers' Championship was won by Williams. Prost was the first driver to win back-to-back Drivers' Championships since Jack Brabham in 1959 and 1960.

Contents

Early life

De Angelis was born in Rome. His father Giulio, a construction magnate, was an inshore and offshore powerboat racer who won many world championships in the 1960s and 1970s.

Rome Capital city and comune in Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

After a brief spell with karts, de Angelis went on to win the Italian Formula Three Championship in 1977. In 1978 he raced in Formula Two for Minardi and then for the ICI British F2 Team, he also competed in one round of the British Formula One championship and won the prestigious Monaco F3 race.

The Italian Formula Three Championship was the Formula Three racing competition in Italy.

Formula Two race car class

Formula Two, abbreviated to F2, is a type of open wheel formula racing first codified in 1948. It was replaced in 1985 by Formula 3000, but revived by the FIA from 2009–2012 in the form of the FIA Formula Two Championship.

Minardi was an Italian automobile racing team and constructor founded in Faenza in 1979 by Giancarlo Minardi. It competed in the Formula One World Championship from 1985 until 2005 with little success, nevertheless acquiring a loyal following of fans. In 2001, to save the team from folding, Minardi sold it to Australian businessman Paul Stoddart, who ran the team for five years before selling it on to Red Bull GmbH in 2005 who renamed it Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Formula One

At the end of the 1977 season, de Angelis was on Enzo Ferrari's short list to replace Niki Lauda. De Angelis successfully tested the Ferrari at the Fiorano circuit but eventually Ferrari decided to hire Gilles Villeneuve. [2] De Angelis's debut Formula One season was in 1979 with Shadow. He finished seventh in his maiden Grand Prix in Argentina and 15th in the championship with three points.

Enzo Ferrari Italian racecar driver, engineer and entrepreneur

Enzo Anselmo Giuseppe Maria Ferrari, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI was an Italian motor racing driver and entrepreneur, the founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team, and subsequently of the Ferrari automobile marque. He was widely known as "il Commendatore" or "il Drake". In his final years he was often referred to as "l'Ingegnere" or "il Grande Vecchio ".

Niki Lauda Austrian former Formula 1 racing driver

Andreas Nikolaus Lauda is an Austrian former Formula One driver and a three-time F1 World Drivers' Champion, winning in 1975, 1977 and 1984. He is currently the only driver to have been champion for both Ferrari and McLaren, the sport's two most successful constructors. He is considered by some as one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time. More recently an aviation entrepreneur, he has founded and run three airlines. He is also Bombardier Business Aircraft brand ambassador. He was also a consultant for Scuderia Ferrari and team manager of the Jaguar Formula One racing team for two years. He is currently working as a pundit for German TV during Grand Prix weekends and acts as non-executive chairman of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team. Lauda owns 10% of the team.

Fiorano Circuit race track

The Fiorano Circuit is a private racetrack owned by Ferrari for development and testing purposes. It is located in Fiorano Modenese, near the Italian town of Maranello.

De Angelis's performance with Shadow caught the eye of Lotus boss Colin Chapman, who hired him to partner Mario Andretti in 1980. At the age of 21, de Angelis nearly became the youngest Grand Prix winner of all time when he finished second at the Brazilian Grand Prix, run at the Interlagos circuit.

Team Lotus was the motorsport sister company of English sports car manufacturer Lotus Cars. The team ran cars in many motorsport series, including Formula One, Formula Two, Formula Ford, Formula Junior, IndyCar, and sports car racing. More than ten years after its last race, Team Lotus remained one of the most successful racing teams of all time, winning seven Formula One Constructors' titles, six Drivers' Championships, and the Indianapolis 500 in the United States between 1962 and 1978. Under the direction of founder and chief designer Colin Chapman, Lotus was responsible for many innovative and experimental developments in critical motorsport, in both technical and commercial arenas.

Colin Chapman English design engineer, inventor, and builder in the automotive industry, and founder of Lotus Cars

Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman, was an influential English design engineer, inventor, and builder in the automotive industry, and founder of Lotus Cars.

Mario Andretti Italian-American racing driver

Mario Gabriele Andretti is an Italian-born American former racing driver, one of the most successful Americans in the history of the sport. He is one of only two drivers to have won races in Formula One, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championship and NASCAR. He also won races in midget cars, and sprint cars. During his career, Andretti won the 1978 Formula One World Championship, four IndyCar titles, and IROC VI. To date, he remains the only driver ever to win the Indianapolis 500 (1969), Daytona 500 (1967) and the Formula One World Championship, and, along with Juan Pablo Montoya, the only driver to have won a race in the NASCAR Cup Series, Formula One, and an Indianapolis 500. No American has won a Formula One race since Andretti's victory at the 1978 Dutch Grand Prix. Andretti had 109 career wins on major circuits.

De Angelis driving for Lotus at the 1981 British Grand Prix. Elio De Angelis Silverstone.JPG
De Angelis driving for Lotus at the 1981 British Grand Prix.

His first victory came in the 1982 Austrian Grand Prix at the Österreichring, 0.05 seconds ahead of the Williams of eventual 1982 World Champion Keke Rosberg. The win was the last hailed by Colin Chapman's act of throwing his cloth cap into the air. Chapman died in December that year and Peter Warr became the new Lotus team manager.

1982 Austrian Grand Prix

The 1982 Austrian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 15 August 1982 at the Österreichring in Spielberg, Styria, Austria. The race, contested over 53 laps, was the thirteenth race of the 1982 Formula One season and was won by Elio de Angelis, driving a Lotus-Ford. De Angelis held off Keke Rosberg's Williams-Ford to win by just 0.05 seconds, or less than half a car length. Jacques Laffite finished third in a Ligier-Matra, one lap behind.

1982 Formula One World Championship sports season

The 1982 FIA Formula One World Championship was the 36th season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1982 Formula One World Championship for Drivers and the 1982 Formula One World Championship for Constructors, which were contested concurrently over a sixteen-race series that commenced on 23 January and ended on 25 September. The Drivers' Championship was won by Keke Rosberg and the Constructors' Championship by Ferrari.

Keke Rosberg Finnish racing driver

Keijo Erik Rosberg, known as "Keke", is a Finnish former racing driver and winner of the 1982 Formula One World Championship. He was the first Finnish driver to compete regularly in the series. He is the father of retired Formula One driver and 2016 Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg.

In 1983 Lotus switched from the Cosworth DFV they had been using since 1967, to Renault turbo engines, but it was a disappointing season. De Angelis's best result was a fifth place in the 1983 Italian Grand Prix.

In 1984 de Angelis had a much better season, scoring a total of 34 points and finishing third in the standings with three podiums. His best result was a second place at the Detroit Grand Prix. De Angelis was the only driver to finish in the top 5 in 1984 not to score a race win, showing his consistent performances throughout the season with the improving Lotus-Renault.

In 1985, de Angelis was joined at Lotus by Ayrton Senna, who had left the Toleman team. De Angelis's second win came in the third race of the season, at the 1985 San Marino Grand Prix, after Alain Prost was disqualified when his McLaren MP4/2B was found 2 kg underweight. De Angelis also claimed his last Formula One pole position that year in Canada. He finished fifth in the championship, with 33 points, five points behind his teammate. However, de Angelis chose to leave Lotus at the end of the season, frustrated that the team's efforts were being focused mostly on Senna.

De Angelis's drive for 1986 was with Brabham, as a replacement for twice World Champion Nelson Piquet, who had moved to Williams to join de Angelis's former Lotus teammate Nigel Mansell. Fellow Italian Riccardo Patrese was his teammate. Patrese was returning to the Bernie Ecclestone owned team after two unhappy years with Alfa Romeo.

De Angelis driving for Team Lotus at the 1985 German Grand Prix. Elio de Angelis im Lotus-Renault 1985-08-02.jpg
De Angelis driving for Team Lotus at the 1985 German Grand Prix.

The 1986 Brabham-BMW, the BT55, was the brainchild of long time Brabham designer Gordon Murray. The BT55 was a lowline car with a reduced frontal area, the idea being to have a cleaner airflow over the car to create more downforce, while at the same time reducing the car's drag. The chassis proved effective, unlike the l4 BMW turbo that had to be tilted to an angle of 72°. This caused severe oil surge and an even greater lack of throttle response than the BMW had become famous for. Although the team worked hard to overcome these problems, it was clear from early in the season that Brabham had fallen behind the leading pack.

Death and aftermath

In that year, during tests at the Paul Ricard circuit in France, the rear wing of de Angelis's BT55 detached at high speed [3] resulting in the car losing downforce on the rear wheels, which instigated a cartwheel over a sidetrack barrier, causing the car to catch fire. The impact itself did not kill de Angelis but he was unable to extract himself from the car unassisted. The situation was exacerbated by the lack of track marshals on the circuit who could have provided him with emergency assistance. A 30-minute delay ensued before a helicopter arrived and de Angelis died 29 hours later, at the hospital in Marseille where he had been taken, from smoke inhalation. His actual crash impact injuries were only a broken collar bone and light burns on his back.

De Angelis's death also saw the end of Formula One using the full 5.81 km (3.61 mi) Paul Ricard Circuit. F1 cars started using the 3.812 km (2.369 mi) "Club" version of the circuit, bypassing the Verriere curves where the Brabham had crashed, and cutting the length of the Mistral Straight from 1.8 to 1 km in length. The move was unpopular with many of the drivers, although most did like the reduced straight length as it was easier on the engines. Paul Ricard would not host a race on the full layout until 2018, which featured sharper Verriere curves and a chicane on Mistral effectively cutting the straight to two 800m straights.

De Angelis's place in the Brabham team was subsequently taken by Derek Warwick, allegedly because Warwick was the only available top level driver who did not contact team owner Bernie Ecclestone immediately after de Angelis's death asking to replace him. McLaren driver Keke Rosberg, who was a close friend of de Angelis, retired at the end of the 1986 season. [4]

De Angelis was the last driver to die in a Formula One car until Roland Ratzenberger died during qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola eight years later. The day after Ratzenberger's death, de Angelis's former Lotus teammate (and by then a triple World Champion) Ayrton Senna was killed on the seventh lap when his Williams-Renault crashed into the Tamburello Curve wall at over 180 mph (290 km/h).

Legacy

De Angelis was a concert-standard pianist, and famously kept his fellow Formula One drivers entertained with his skills while they locked themselves in a Johannesburg hotel before the 1982 South African Grand Prix at Kyalami when the Grand Prix Drivers Association held a strike in protest at the new superlicense conditions imposed by the governing body, FISA.

The French-Italian driver Jean Alesi, who broke into the sport in 1989, wore a helmet that matched de Angelis's design, in tribute to his semi-compatriot.

In 2016, in an academic paper that reported a mathematical modeling study that assessed the relative influence of driver and machine, de Angelis was ranked the 20th best Formula One driver of all time. [5]

In 2017 de Angelis was honoured at the Ludovico Scarfiotti Memorial in Rome. [6]

Formula One World Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

YearEntrantChassisEngine12345678910111213141516WDC Pts.
1979 Interscope Shadow Racing Team Shadow DN9 Cosworth V8 ARG
7
BRA
12
RSA
Ret
USW
7
ESP
Ret
BEL
Ret
MON
DNQ
FRA
16
GBR
12
GER
11
AUT
Ret
NED
Ret
ITA
Ret
CAN
Ret
USA
4
15th3
1980 Team Essex Lotus Lotus 81 Cosworth V8 ARG
Ret
BRA
2
RSA
Ret
USW
Ret
BEL
10
MON
9
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
16
AUT
6
NED
Ret
ITA
4
CAN
10
USA
4
7th13
1981 Team Essex Lotus Lotus 81 Cosworth V8 USW
Ret
BRA
5
ARG
6
SMR
WD
BEL
5
8th14
Lotus 87 MON
Ret
John Player Team Lotus ESP
5
FRA
6
GBR
DSQ
GER
7
AUT
7
NED
5
ITA
4
CAN
6
CPL
Ret
1982 John Player Team Lotus Lotus 87B Cosworth V8 RSA
8
9th23
Lotus 91 BRA
Ret
USW
5
SMR BEL
4
MON
5
DET
Ret
CAN
4
NED
Ret
GBR
4
FRA
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
1
SUI
6
ITA
Ret
CPL
Ret
1983 John Player Team Lotus Lotus 91 Cosworth V8 BRA
DSQ
17th2
Lotus 93T Renault V6 (tc) USW
Ret
FRA
Ret
SMR
Ret
MON
Ret
BEL
9
DET
Ret
CAN
Ret
Lotus 94T GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
NED
Ret
ITA
5
EUR
Ret
RSA
Ret
1984 John Player Team Lotus Lotus 95T Renault V6 (tc) BRA
3
RSA
7
BEL
5
SMR
3
FRA
5
MON
5
CAN
4
DET
2
DAL
3
GBR
4
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
NED
4
ITA
Ret
EUR
Ret
POR
5
3rd34
1985 John Player Special Team Lotus Lotus 97T Renault V6 (tc) BRA
3
POR
4
SMR
1
MON
3
CAN
5
DET
5
FRA
5
GBR
NC
GER
Ret
AUT
5
NED
5
ITA
6
BEL
Ret
EUR
5
RSA
Ret
AUS
DSQ
5th33
1986 Motor Racing Developments Brabham BT55 BMW Straight-4 (tc) BRA
8
ESP
Ret
SMR
Ret
MON
Ret
BEL CAN DET FRA GBR GER HUN AUT ITA POR MEX AUS NC0

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References

  1. "20 years since Elio de Angelis died". f1technical.net. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  2. "Ricordando Elio De Angelis, il terzo Memorial Scarfiotti è dedicato a lui". corrieredellosport.it. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  3. "Elio de Angelis – Paul Ricard Accident 14th May 1986". www.eliodeangelis.info. Archived from the original on 21 May 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  4. "Keke Rosberg". ESPN UK. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  5. Hanlon, Mike (2016-05-12). "The Top 50 F1 drivers of all time, regardless of what they were driving". New Atlas. Retrieved 2017-12-23.
  6. "Memorial Lodovico Scarfiotti dedicato a Elio De Angelis, Jean Alesi sulla sua Lotus". cronachemaceratesi.it. 23 May 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.(in Italian)
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Riccardo Patrese
Italian Formula Three
Champion

1977
Succeeded by
Siegfried Stohr
Preceded by
Didier Pironi
Monaco Formula Three
Winner

1978
Succeeded by
Alain Prost
Preceded by
Riccardo Paletti
Formula One fatal accidents
15 May 1986
Succeeded by
Roland Ratzenberger
Records
Preceded by
Bruce McLaren
21 years, 322 days
(1959 British GP)
Youngest driver to score a
podium position in Formula One

21 years, 307 days
(1980 Brazilian Grand Prix)
Succeeded by
Ralf Schumacher
21 years, 287 days
(1997 Argentine GP)