Elio de Angelis: Wikis

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Elio de Angelis
Nationality Italy Italian
Formula One World Championship career
Active years 19791986
Teams Shadow, Lotus, Brabham
Races 109 (108 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 2
Podiums 9
Career points 122
Pole positions 3
Fastest laps 0
First race 1979 Argentine Grand Prix
First win 1982 Austrian Grand Prix
Last win 1985 San Marino Grand Prix
British Formula One Series career
Active years 1978
Races 1
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podium finishes 1
Career points 12
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 during testing at the Paul Ricard circuit at Le Castellet in 1986. Elio de Angelis was a competitive and highly popular presence during the Formula One circus of the 1980s, and is sometimes referred to as Formula One's "last gentleman player".[1]

Contents

Career

De Angelis was born in Rome. His father Giulio was a notable inshore and offshore motorboat racer.

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

After a brief spell with karts, he went on to win the Italian Formula Three Championship in 1977. In 1978 he raced in the British Formula One Series.

His debut F1 season was in 1979 with Shadow. He finished 7th in his maiden Grand Prix in Argentina and closed 15th in the championship with 3 points. In 1980 he switched to Lotus and - at the age of 21 - nearly became the youngest Grand Prix winner of all time when he finished a tantalising second at the 1980 Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos. His first victory came in the 1982 Austrian Grand Prix at the Osterreichring, only 0.05 seconds ahead of Keke Rosberg. The win was the last hailed by Colin Chapman's famous act of throwing his cloth cap into the air. Chapman died in December that year and Peter Warr became the new Lotus team manager.

In 1983 Lotus switched from Cosworth to Renault turbo engines but it was a disappointing season. De Angelis' 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 (his best result was a second place at the Detroit Grand Prix).

De Angelis' second win came in the 1985 San Marino Grand Prix. He finished 5th in the championship with 33 points but left Lotus at the end of the season when it became clear the team's efforts were being focused on his prodigiously-talented new team-mate Ayrton Senna. De Angelis' drive for 1986 was with Brabham as a replacement for twice World Champion Nelson Piquet.

De Angelis driving for Lotus at the 1985 German Grand Prix.

The 1986 Brabham-BMW, the BT55, was a radically-designed car, with a very low cross section. However, it was not effective and could not arrest Brabham's swift decline. It quickly became clear that 1986 would not be the year the team recaptured its glory days of the early 1980s. Nevertheless, de Angelis pushed his hardest to help develop the car.

Death and legacy

During tests at the Paul Ricard circuit in France, the rear wing of his BT55 detached at high speed [2] resulting in the car losing downforce on the rear wheels, which instigated a cartwheel over a sidetrack barrier and 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 or indeed anyone 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. The tragic circumstances of his death weighed heavily on the sport's conscience and radical changes were introduced by then President Jean-Marie Balestre in the months following his accident which ultimately heralded the end of the turbo powered era in Formula One racing.

De Angelis' place in the Brabham team was subsequently taken by Derek Warwick - allegedly because Warwick was the only unemployed F1 driver who did not contact Brabham chief Bernie Ecclestone immediately afterwards asking about the drive.

De Angelis was the last driver to die in an F1 car until Roland Ratzenberger at Imola eight years later. The French-Sicilian driver Jean Alesi - who broke into the sport three years after de Angelis died - wore a helmet that exactly matched de Angelis' design, in tribute to his semi-compatriot.

As well as his considerable skill as a driver, de Angelis was also concert-standard pianist who famously once kept the drivers entertained for an entire evening in the midst of the drivers' strike during the weekend of the 1982 South African Grand Prix.

Formula One World Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WDC 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
15th 3
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
7th 13
1981 Team Essex Lotus Lotus 81 Cosworth V8 USW
Ret
BRA
5
ARG
6
SMR
BEL
5
8th 14
Lotus 87 MON
Ret
John Player Team Lotus ESP
5
FRA
6
GBR
Ret
GER
7
AUT
7
NED
5
ITA
4
CAN
6
CPL
Ret
1982 John Player Team Lotus Lotus 87B Cosworth V8 RSA
8
9th 23
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
17th 2
Lotus 93T Renault V6 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 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
3rd 34
1985 John Player Special Team Lotus Lotus 97T Renault V6 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
5th 33
1986 Motor Racing Developments Brabham BT55 BMW Straight-4 BRA
8
ESP
Ret
SMR
Ret
MON
Ret
BEL
CAN
DET
FRA
GBR
GER
HUN
AUT
ITA
POR
MEX
AUS
NC 0
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Riccardo Patrese
Italian Formula Three Champion
1977
Succeeded by
Siegfried Stohr
Preceded by
Didier Pironi
Monaco Formula Three
Race Winner

1978
Succeeded by
Alain Prost
Preceded by
Riccardo Paletti
Formula One fatal accidents
May 15, 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)

References

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