Michele Alboreto: a biography

Born in Milan, Italy on 23 December 1956, Michele Alboreto was a driver who left his mark on motor racing history over the last twenty years. His first results of note date back to 1977 when he finished third in Formula Monza. In 1980, he took the European Formula 3 title and he made his Formula 1 debut the following year, at the wheel of a Tyrrell-Ford in the San Marino Grand Prix.

His first grand prix win came in 1982, when he triumphed in Las Vegas, again in a Tyrrell, doing the double the following year in Detroit. He switched to Scuderia Ferrari in 1984 and he stayed with the team to the end of 1988. His track record with Ferrari covered 80 grands prix and included 3 wins (Belgium 1984, Canada and Germany 1985,) and 2 pole positions in Belgium in 1984 and Germany in Œ85. He finished on the podium a total of 19 times and in the points 31 times as well as notching up two fastest race laps. In 1985, Alboreto came very close to taking the Drivers' title, finishing second behind Alain Prost.

From 1989 to 1994, Alboreto continued his Formula 1 career, with Tyrrell, Lola, Arrows, Footwork and Minardi. The Milanese driver also enjoyed a glorious career in sports cars. Among his numerous successes are wins in the 1981 Watkins Glen Six Hours, the 1982 Nurburgring 1000 Kilometres and above all, the 1997 Le Mans 24 Hours. His last win came at the 12 hours Sebring just last month.

Alboreto died as the result of an accident during testing with the Audi Sport R8 in preparation for the forthcoming Le Mans 24 Hours. The accident occurred at the Lausitzring track, near Dresden. Alboreto lost control of his car on the straight and spun several times. Michele leaves a wife Nadia and two daughters.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has been one of the first Formula One members to express his sorrow upon learning the news.

"Michele Alboreto played an important role as a driver in the history of Ferrari," said di Montezemolo. "He was intelligent and paid a great deal of attention to the technical problems involved in the development of the car. His death has been a hard blow to take and has filled me with a deep sadness.

"Michele continued to race, driven on by an irrepressible passion, proving that in our sport which is totally involving, risk is always around the corner."

Ferrari and all its fans offer their condolences.