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Michele Alboreto (December 23, 1956 in MilanmarkerApril 25, 2001 in Klettwitz) was an Italianmarker racing driver. He is famous for finishing runner up to Alain Prost in the 1985 Formula One World Championship, as well as winning the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans and 2001 12 Hours of Sebring sports car races. Alboreto competed in Formula One from until , racing for a number of teams, most notably the Ferrari factory team.

The Italian's career in motorsport began in 1976, racing a car he and a number of his friends had built in the Formula Monza series. The car, however, achieved very little success and two years later Alboreto moved up to Formula Three. Wins in the Italian Formula Three championship and a European Formula Three Championship crown in 1980 paved the way for the Italian's entrance into Formula One with the Tyrrell team.

Two wins, the first in the final round of the 1982 season in Las Vegas, and the second a year later in Detroit, earned him a place with the Ferrari team. Alboreto took three wins for the Italian team and challenged Alain Prost for the 1985 Championship, eventually losing out by 20 points. Following a poor 1988 campaign, the Italian left Ferrari and re-signed with his former employers Tyrrell, where he stayed until joining Larrousse mid-way through .

Further seasons with Footwork, Scuderia Italia and Minardi followed during the tail end of his F1 career. In 1995, Alboreto moved on to sportscars and a year later the American IndyCar series. He took his final major victories, the 1997 Le Mans 24 Hours and 2001 Sebring 12 Hours, with Germanmarker manufacturers Porsche and Audi respectively. In 2001, a month after his Sebring victory, he was killed testing an Audi R8 at the Lausitzringmarker in Germany.

Career

1976-1981: Junior formulae

Michele Alboreto started his career in 1976 racing in Formula Monza with a car he and his friends built, known as the "CMR". The car itself proved to be uncompetitive and in 1978 Alboreto, now in a more competitive March, moved over to Formula Italia where he began to take race wins. Two years later Alboreto moved up to Formula Three, racing in a Euroracing-entered March in both the European and Italian series. In his début Formula Three season, Alboreto finished 6th and 2nd respectively in the two championships, scoring three wins in the Italian series.

1980 would prove to be the Italian's final, and most successful, year in Formula Three where he took the European crown and finished third in the Italian championship, taking five wins between the two series. An appearance in the British Championship was also made that year.

Alboreto's European title earned him a move into Formula Two, a feeder series for Formula One - effectively what the GP2 Series is in the current era, with the Minardi team. He scored Minardi's only F2 victory, at Misanomarker, during the 1981 season where he finished eighth in the championship.

1980-1983: Sportscars

Despite his career in open wheel racing, Alboreto was chosen by Lancia to be part of their official squad in the World Championship for Makes, running in rounds which did not conflict with his other races. He shared the Group 5 category Lancia Beta Montecarlo with Walter Röhrl or Eddie Cheever on four occasions during the 1980 season, scoring three second place finishes and a fourth.
Alboreto again ran a partial schedule in 1981 even though he was also running Formula Two and Formula One. This season included his first participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mansmarker. He earned an eighth place finish overall, second in class, and was the highest finishing Lancia. He followed this with his first win in the championship, at the Six Hours of Watkins Glen with co-driver Riccardo Patrese. Alboreto finished the year 52nd in the Drivers' Championship, the highest ranked Lancia driver.

Career

When Lancia chose to move to a new class of competition with the Lancia LC1 as the championship concentrated solely on endurance races in 1982, further success came for Alboreto. A small schedule for the championship, as well as an emphasis on European circuits allowed him to compete in every race that year. Although the LC1 suffered from mechanical problems on its debut, Alboreto and teammate Patrese were able to rebound to earn a victory at the 1000 km of Silverstone. Teo Fabi joined the duo for the 1000 km of the Nürburgring, where they once again earned a victory. He was not able to repeat his previous success at Le Mans when the LC1's engine failed, and was unable to complete an event at Spa when the car broke in the closing laps. A third victory was earned by Alboreto and new teammate Piercarlo Ghinzani at their home circuit, Mugellomarker. The final two races of the World Championship season had Alboreto's car eliminated from contention due to accidents. At the end of the season, he had secured fifth in the Drivers' Championship.

Lancia changed classes and cars once again in 1983 World Sportscar Championship season, but Alboreto remained as one of the team's primary drivers. He brought the new Lancia LC2 to a ninth place finish in its debut at the 1000 km of Monza, but the new car struggled to finish the next few races of the season. His entries would not finish another race until round five, where he earned eleventh. While Lancia chose to skip later rounds of the championship, he would not return to the team in order to concentrate fully on his commitments to Formula One. His troubles with the LC2 and early departure from the team earned him only two points in the championship.

Formula One

1981-1983: Tyrrell



At the age of 24, Alboreto made his Formula One debut at the 1981 San Marino Grand Prix for the Cosworth-powered Tyrrell Racing team, replacing Ricardo Zunino after the Argentinemarker failed to impress team boss Ken Tyrrell. Unfortunately for the Italian, a collision with fellow countryman Beppe Gabbiani put him out of the race after completing 31 of the 60 laps. Alboreto failed to score a single point during his debut year, his highest position being ninth at the Dutch Grand Prix.

In comparison to the previous season, Alboreto had a more successful 1982 campaign. The Italian took the first podium of his Grand Prix career at Imola and, at the final round in Las Vegas, Alboreto took his first Grand Prix win. He is the last winner of the Caesars Palace Grand Prix as the following year, the track was axed from the calendar. Alboreto scored a total of 25 points during his second season of F1, finishing as the top Italian in eighth place overall.

Despite a win in Detroit, registered as the last victory for a naturally-aspirated car until the end of the turbo-era in 1989, after Nelson Piquet's leading Brabham suffered a rear tyre deflation in the closing stages, Alboreto failed to finish in the points consistently and, with only one further points finish at Zandvoort, the Italian finished the season with ten points and down in twelfth position. However, it was announced that the Italian would partner Frenchmanmarker René Arnoux at Ferrari. Replacing Patrick Tambay, he became the first Italian driver to race for the marque in over a decade.



1984-1988: Ferrari

The Italian showed much better form in his debut season for Ferrari by taking victory in the third round at Zolder and finishing on the podium a further three times: at the Österreichring where he finished third; Ferrari's home circuit of Monza where he finished second; and at the Nürburgring, where he also finished in second place. Alboreto finished the 1984 season in fourth with 30.5 points, the half point coming from his sixth place at the Monaco Grand Prix which was cut to under half its original race distance due to heavy rain, resulting in half points being awarded.



 would prove to be Alboreto's most successful year in Formula One. He took two wins: the first at the Canadian Grand Prix, and the second at the German Grand Prix. Alboreto finished the season in second place with 53 points, 20 points behind World Champion Alain Prost. Formula One journalist Nigel Roebuck commented that "Alboreto was Prost's only real challenger for the World Championship".


In Ferrari's new car, the F1/86, proved to be slower and less reliable than its predecessor as the Alboreto retired from a total of nine races: only two of those retirements are counted as driver error while the remaining seven were mechanical failures. Alboreto only scored one podium, at the Austrian Grand Prix - even then both Williams cars of Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet had retired and Alboreto finished a full lap behind race winner Alain Prost. The Italian finished the season ninth in the Divers' Championship with fourteen points.



Austrianmarker Gerhard Berger joined Ferrari in which signalled the end of Alboreto's time as leader of the Ferrari team. Berger soon established himself as the team's number one driver thanks to his wins in Japan and Australia at the end of the season, while Alboreto could only manage a handful of podiums at Imola, Monaco and a second place at the final round in Australia to make it a Ferrari one-two. The Italian finished the year in seventh overall with 17 points, 13 points behind his team-mate.

The 1988 season would be Alboreto's final year with Ferrari. With the McLarenmarker of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost dominating the season, the Ferrari team only managed a single win during the year at Monza which Berger won from Alboreto in second place. After a disappointing '88 season with Ferrari, the team refused to offer the Italian a new contract and so Alboreto looked elsewhere for a drive. In July that year, he received an offer from Frank Williams, head of the Williams team. Later that year, Alboreto had not received any word from Williams and soon requested confirmation of his seat at the team. Williams replied by saying that "he wanted him" and "not to move". The Britmarker, however, went back on his word and signed Belgianmarker Thierry Boutsen instead, leaving Alboreto with very little options for the coming season.

Alboreto competed in eighty Grands Prix for Ferrari, which established a new record. It stood until the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix, when it was surpassed by Berger.

1989: Tyrrell and Larrousse

A lack of a drive had left Alboreto in a difficult situation and he later admitted he contemplated retirement - an option of which his family were very much in favour. Soon enough, however, he was offered a drive at his former employer Tyrrell, which he accepted. Thanks to Alboreto's Marlboro backing, the team managed to fund his wages. The relationship between Alboreto and team manager, Ken Tyrrell, soon turned sour. At the Monaco Grand Prix, Alboreto was told to drive the older Tyrrell, the 017, due to the newer 018 not being completed. Team-mate Jonathan Palmer was chosen to drive the new monoshock 018. Meanwhile, the Italian would have to wait until the following day for the 018 and so he decided not to accept this. The result was Alboreto boycotting the Thursday practice session. This lack of professional behaviour did not impress the team, and finishing in fifth position during the race did not help the 32-year-old's cause. He also finished 3rd at the next race in Mexico.

By the French Grand Prix, Ken Tyrrell had found some Camel sponsorship for the race and told Alboreto to end his personal sponsorship deal with Marlboro, a rival company to Camel. Alboreto refused and quit the team, and was replaced by up and coming Frenchman Jean Alesi. Alesi enjoyed a successful first Grand Prix in which he finished fourth.

Alboreto soon lost his Marlboro sponsorship as well after the company refused to find him another drive for the rest of the 1989 season. He was, however, soon hired by the French Larrousse team, sponsored by Camel, for the German Grand Prix onwards. In an uncompetitive car, he failed to score a single point for the rest of the season. During qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix the Italian cut one of the chicanes and broke two of his ribs in the process. After competing the year for two teams, Alboreto finished the year eleventh in the Drivers' Championship with six points.

1990-1992: Footwork

 saw Alboreto move to the Arrows team, which was in the process of being sold to sponsor Footwork. It was seen mainly as a "transition year" for him, as the chassis was in its second year and severe uncompetitiveness would be expected. Despite this, the 33-year-old finished in the top ten a number of times and only retired three times. Alboreto finished the season, however, as one of 21 drivers who failed to score a point.


Footwork secured Porsche works engines for and sponsorship from Japanmarker, as the Footwork company completed its takeover of the team. The package did not, however, live up to its expectations as it failed to qualify a number of times. Soon the overweight and unreliable Porsche engines were replaced by Hart-supplied Cosworth engines for the rest of the season, the short-term fix not improving the team's competitiveness. This would be Alboreto's second season in succession that he failed to score a point.

Thanks to Footwork's Japanese connections the team received a supply of Mugen Honda V10 engines for . The FA13 was reliable in comparison to its predecessor and Aboreto scored points four times, in addition to finishing in seventh place six times. With a season total of six points, the 35-year-old finished the year tenth overall.

1993-1994: Scuderia Italia and Minardi

Alboreto joined Italian team Scuderia Italia, which had enjoyed a number of successes in its short history, most notably when Andrea de Cesaris and JJ Lehto had scored podium positions at the 1989 Canadian Grand Prix and 1991 San Marino Grand Prix respectively. At the start of 1993, however, the team moved away from its Dallara-built chassis and onto Lola, a move considered "disastrous" by many Grand Prix journalists. The Italian failed to score any points over the year, and failed to qualify several times as the slowest runner in the 26-car field. Scuderia Italia folded before the end of the season, and merged with fellow Italian team Minardi for .

The Minardi cars proved to be mostly uncompetitive and unreliable, with a total of nine retirements from sixteen rounds. Only a sixth position in Monaco was any consolation for Alboreto. At the end of the season, he decided to retire from Grand Prix racing, with a record of 194 starts and five Grand Prix wins to his name.

1994-2001: Post-Formula One career

Following his departure from Formula One in 1995, Alboreto embarked on a career in the Germanmarker Touring Car Championship, known as the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft. Racing for Alfa Romeo's factory team, Alfa Corse, the Italian finished 22nd in the championship, scoring four points. Further entries in the International Touring Car Championship and World Sportscar Championship, the latter being with Ferrari, also proved to be fruitless ventures.

Alboreto returned to open-wheel racing in 1996, entering the newly formed Indy Racing League (IRL) with Scandia/Simon Racing. The then 39-year-old competed in all three rounds where he finished fourth on his debut at Walt Disney World Speedwaymarker; eighth at the Phoenix International Racewaymarker; and retired, due to gearbox problems, at the 1996 Indianapolis 500, his sole entry into the famous oval race. Alboreto also ran sports prototypes for Scandia/Simon while in the United States, entering the IMSA World Sports Car Championship with a Ferrari 333 SP. He also entered the Le Mans 24 Hours in a Joest Racing-entered Porsche WSC-95 alongside fellow Italian and former F1 team-mate Pierluigi Martini and Belgianmarker Didier Theys, but retired due to an engine failure after completing 300 laps.

The following year, Alboreto earned his first, and only, podium in the IRL at the "True Value 200" held in New Hampshiremarker, where he finished third. A further fifth place at Las Vegasmarker earned Alboreto 62 points during his 1997 campaign which resulted in a 32nd place overall in the drivers' championship. 1997 for the Italian, however, would be remembered for winning the Le Mans 24 Hours with the same car as the previous year, but this time alongside Swedemarker Stefan Johansson, another former F1 team-mate, and Danemarker Tom Kristensen, who would later go onto beat Jacky Ickx's record for winning the most Le Mans 24 Hour races. The trio completed 361 laps, one more than second placed Gulf Team Davidoff's BMW-powered McLaren F1 GTR.

This would prove to be the peak of Alboreto's sportscar success as he failed to finish at Le Mans in 1999 with newcomer Audi. However, a third at the 2000 Le Mans 24 Hours and a win at the 2001 Sebring 12 Hours gave the Italian some final success prior to his death a month after his win at Sebring.

Death

In April, 2001, Alboreto was performing straight-line speed tests in an Audi R8 at the Lausitzringmarker, near Dresdenmarker, Germanymarker. A tyre blow-out caused his car to veer off track and crash into a wall, killing him. At the time, Audi gave no reason for his death, citing that the R8 had "already completed thousands of test kilometres on numerous circuits without any problems". Alboreto's death brought much anguish among his family and friends. Michele's cousin Marisa told Italian news agency ANSA "You can't imagine what we're going through as a family. We're really distraught".

Fellow Italian Giancarlo Fisichella dedicated his podium finish at the 2005 Italian Grand Prix to Alboreto, "I know Alboreto was the last Italian on the podium at Monza before me. I was lucky enough to race together with him in touring cars, and he was a great person, really special. I want to dedicate the result to his memory".

Racing career results

Career summary

Season Series Team Name Races Poles Wins Points Final Placing
1979 European Formula Three Euroracing 6 2 0 19 6th
Italian Formula Three Euroracing ? ? 3 47 2nd
1980 European Formula Three Euroracing 14 3 4 60 1st
Italian Formula Three Euroracing ? ? 1 25 3rd
British Formula Three Euroracing 1 ? 0 4 13th
World Championship for Makes Lancia Corse 4 0 0 NA NA
1981 Formula One Tyrrell 12 0 0 0 27th
European Formula Two Minardi 10 1 1 13 8th
World Endurance Championship Martini Racing 4 0 1 37 57th
1982 Formula One Tyrrell 16 0 1 25 7th
World Endurance Championship Martini Racing 8 2 3 63 5th
1983 Formula One Tyrrell 15 0 1 10 12th
World Endurance Championship Martini Racing 5 0 0 2 85th
European Endurance Championship Martini Racing 6 0 0 12 28th
1984 Formula One Ferrari 16 1 1 30.5 4th
1985 Formula One Ferrari 16 1 2 53 2nd
1986 Formula One Ferrari 16 0 0 14 8th
1987 Formula One Ferrari 16 0 0 17 7th
1988 Formula One Ferrari 16 0 0 24 5th
1989 Formula One Tyrrell 6 0 0 6 13th
Larrousse 8 0 0 0
1990 Formula One Arrows 16 0 0 0 24th
1991 Formula One Footwork 16 0 0 0 35th
1992 Formula One Footwork 16 0 0 6 10th
1993 Formula One Scuderia Italia 14 0 0 0 29th
1994 Formula One Minardi 16 0 0 1 24th
1995 International Touring Car Championship Alfa Corse 7 0 0 0 NC
Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft Alfa Corse 13 0 0 4 22nd
1996 IndyCar Series Team Scandia 3 0 0 189 11th
Le Mans 24 Hours Joest Racing (LMP1) 1 0 0 N/A NC
1997 IndyCar Series Team Scandia 2 0 0 62 32nd
Le Mans 24 Hours Joest Racing (LMP1) 1 1 1 N/A 1st
1998 Le Mans 24 Hours Porsche AG/Joest Racing (LMP1) 1 0 0 N/A NC
1999 American Le Mans Series Audi Sport Team Joest (LMP) 1 0 0 24 43rd
Le Mans 24 Hours Audi Sport Team Joest (LMP) 1 0 0 N/A 2nd
2000 Le Mans 24 Hours Audi Sport Team Joest (LMP900) 1 0 0 N/A 3rd
2001 American Le Mans Series Audi Sport North America (LMP900) 1 0 1 31 20th


Complete European Formula Two 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 10 11 12 Pos Pts
1981 Minardi Team Minardi FLY281 BMW SILmarker

11
HOCmarker

8
THRmarker

Ret
NUR

8
VALmarker

Ret
MUGmarker

14
PAUmarker

Ret
PERmarker

3
SPAmarker

8
DONmarker MISmarker

1
MANmarker 8th 13


Complete World Championship Formula One 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 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WDC Pts
1981 Team Tyrrell Tyrrell 010 Cosworth V8 USW

BRA

ARG

SMR

Ret
BEL

12
MON

Ret
ESP

DNQ
FRA

16
GBR

Ret
GER

DNQ
AUT

Ret
NC 0
Tyrrell 011 NED

9
ITA

Ret
CAN

11
CPL

13
1982 Team Tyrrell Tyrrell 011 Cosworth V8 RSA

7
BRA

4
USW

4
SMR

3
BEL

Ret
MON

10
DET

Ret
CAN

Ret
NED

7
GBR

NC
FRA

6
GER

4
AUT

Ret
SUI

7
ITA

5
CPL

1
8th 25
1983 Benetton Tyrrell Team Tyrrell 011 Cosworth V8 BRA

Ret
USW

9
FRA

8
SMR

Ret
MON

Ret
BEL

14
DET

1
CAN

8
GBR

13
GER

Ret
AUT

Ret
12th 10
Tyrrell 012 NED

6
ITA

Ret
EUR

Ret
RSA

Ret
1984 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 126C4 Ferrari V6 BRA

Ret
RSA

11
BEL

1
SMR

Ret
FRA

Ret
MON

6
CAN

Ret
DET

Ret
DAL

Ret
GBR

5
GER

Ret
AUT

3
NED

Ret
ITA

2
EUR

2
POR

4
4th 30.5
1985 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 156/85 Ferrari V6 BRA

2
POR

2
SMR

Ret
MON

2
CAN

1
DET

3
FRA

Ret
GBR

2
GER

1
AUT

3
NED

4
ITA

13
BEL

Ret
EUR

Ret
RSA

Ret
AUS

Ret
2nd 53
1986 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari F1/86 Ferrari V6 BRA

Ret
ESP

Ret
SMR

10
MON

Ret
BEL

4
CAN

8
DET

4
FRA

8
GBR

Ret
GER

Ret
HUN

Ret
AUT

2
ITA

Ret
POR

5
MEX

Ret
AUS

Ret
9th 14
1987 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari F1/87 Ferrari V6 BRA

8
SMR

3
BEL

Ret
MON

3
DET

Ret
FRA

Ret
GBR

Ret
GER

Ret
HUN

Ret
AUT

Ret
ITA

Ret
POR

Ret
ESP

15
MEX

Ret
JPN

4
AUS

2
7th 17
1988 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari F1/87/88C Ferrari V6 BRA

5
SMR

18
MON

3
MEX

4
CAN

Ret
DET

Ret
FRA

3
GBR

17
GER

4
HUN

Ret
BEL

Ret
ITA

2
POR

5
ESP

Ret
JPN

11
AUS

Ret
5th 24
1989 Tyrrell Racing
Organisation
Tyrrell 017B Cosworth V8 BRA

10
11th 6
Tyrrell 018 SMR

DNQ
MON

5
MEX

3
USAmarker

Ret
CAN

Ret
FRA

GBR

Equipe Larrousse Lola LC89 Lamborghini V12 GER

Ret
HUN

Ret
BEL

Ret
ITA

Ret
POR

11
ESP

DNPQ
JPN

DNQ
AUS

DNPQ
1990 Footwork Arrows Racing Arrows A11B Cosworth V8 USAmarker

10
BRA

Ret
SMR

DNQ
MON

DNQ
CAN

Ret
MEX

17
FRA

10
GBR

Ret
GER

Ret
HUN

12
BEL

13
ITA

12
POR

9
ESP

10
JPN

Ret
AUS

DNQ
NC 0
1991 Footwork Grand Prix International Footwork A11C Porsche V12 USAmarker

Ret
BRA

DNQ
SMR

DNQ
NC 0
Footwork FA12 MON

Ret
CAN

Ret
MEX

Ret
Cosworth V8 FRA

Ret
GBR

Ret
GER

DNQ
HUN

DNQ
BEL

DNPQ
ITA

DNQ
POR

15
ESP

Ret
JPN

DNQ
AUS

13
1992 Footwork Grand Prix International Footwork FA13 Mugen-Honda V10 RSA

10
MEX

13
BRA

6
ESP

5
SMR

5
MON

7
CAN

7
FRA

7
GBR

7
GER

9
HUN

7
BEL

Ret
ITA

7
POR

6
JPN

15
AUS

Ret
10th 6
1993 Lola BMS Scuderia Italia Lola T93/30 Ferrari V12 RSA

Ret
BRA

11
EUR

11
SMR

DNQ
ESP

DNQ
MON

Ret
CAN

DNQ
FRA

DNQ
GBR

DNQ
GER

16
HUN

Ret
BEL

14
ITA

Ret
POR

Ret
JPN

AUS

NC 0
1994 Minardi Scuderia Italia Minardi M193B Ford V8 BRA

Ret
PAC

Ret
SMR

Ret
MON

6
ESP

Ret
24th 1
Minardi M194 CAN

11
FRA

Ret
GBR

Ret
GER

Ret
HUN

7
BEL

9
ITA

Ret
POR

13
EUR

14
JPN

Ret
AUS

Ret


References

Websites



  • Race results taken from:
    • Formula One -
    • Formula Two -
    • IndyCar -
    • Sportscars -


Notes

  1. GrandPrix.com, Paragraph One
  2. Nyberg and Diepraam, Paragraph 6
  3. Nyberg and Diepraam, Paragraph 7
  4. Nyberg and Diepraam, Paragraph 9
  5. Nyberg and Diepraam, Paragraph 10
  6. Nyberg and Diepraam, Paragraph 11
  7. Alboreto Is Killed Testing Audi R8, New York Times, April 26, 2001, Page D7.


External links




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