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Elio de Angelis

De Angelis with Lotus in 1983.
Elio de Angelis
Nationality 3dflagsdotcom italy2bs.gif Italian
Years 1979 – 1986
Team(s) Shadow, Lotus, Brabham
Races 109 (108 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 2
Podiums 9
Points 122
Poles 3
Fastest laps 0
First race 1979 Argentine Grand Prix
First win 1982 Austrian Grand Prix
Last win 1985 San Marino Grand Prix
Last race 1986 Monaco Grand Prix
BF1 Years 1978
BF1 Races 1
BF1 Championships 0
BF1 Wins 0
BF1 Podiums 1
BF1 Points
BF1 Poles
BF1 Fastest laps 0


Elio de Angelis (26 March 195815 May 1986) was a 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. He is sometimes referred to as Formula One's "last gentleman player," and although he was probably not the most talented driver ever, he was certainly among the most popular.

Career

De Angelis was born in Rome. His father Giulio was a notable offshore powerboat racer.

Having driven for Shadow in his debut F1 season in 1979, he switched to Lotus in 1980 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 GP at the Osterreichring, only 0.05 seconds ahead of Keke Rosberg.

Cover of an Italian magazine about De Angelis' death (Addio Elio meaning "Farewell, Elio").

He left Lotus at the end of the 1985 season when it became clear the team's efforts were being focused on his prodigiously-talented team-mate Ayrton Senna. De Angelis' replacement in the team was Johnny Dumfries, who owed his place almost entirely to the fact that he would accept being subordinate to Senna (Senna would not tolerate the much more competitive Derek Warwick as a co-driver) and that Dumfries came from a rich Scottish family. De Angelis' drive for 1986 was with Brabham - another famous name now disappeared - as a replacement for twice World Champion Nelson Piquet (Piquet had left for the Williams team because Brabham boss Bernie Ecclestone would not match his salary demands).

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. During tests at the Paul Ricard circuit in France, the rear wing of the BT55 came off at high speed, making the car lose downforce on the rear wheels, cartwheel over a barrier and catch fire. The impact did not kill de Angelis but, tragically, he could not get out of the car unassisted. The situation was exacerbated by the lack of marshals on the French circuit, or indeed anyone who could have assisted. A 30 minute delay ensued before an emergency helicopter arrived. De Angelis died 29 hours later in the hospital in Marseille to which he had been taken, from injuries caused by the smoke inhaled during the accident. His only other injuries were a broken collar bone and light burns on his back.

De Angelis was the last driver to die in an F1 car until Roland Ratzenberger at Imola eight years later. His place in the Brabham team was taken by Derek Warwick - allegedly because Warwick was the only unemployed F1 driver who did not contact Ecclestone immediately afterwards asking about the drive.

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 1982 drivers' strike.

At Silverstone in 1981.



Complete 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 Ford 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 Ford 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 Ford USW
Ret
BRA
5
ARG
6
SMR
BEL
5
8th 14
Lotus 87 Ford MON
Ret
John Player Team Lotus Lotus 87 Ford ESP
5
FRA
6
GBR
Ret
GER
7
AUT
7
NED
5
ITA
4
CAN
6
LVS
Ret
1982 John Player Team Lotus Lotus 87B Ford RSA
8
9th 24
Lotus 91 Ford BRA
Ret
USW
5
SMR
BEL
4
MON
5
USE
Ret
CAN
4
NED
Ret
GBR
4
FRA
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
1
SUI
6
ITA
Ret
LVS
Ret
1983 John Player Team Lotus Lotus 93T Renault BRA
DSQ
USW
Ret
FRA
Ret
SMR
Ret
MON
Ret
BEL
9
USE
Ret
CAN
Ret
17th 2
Lotus 94T Renault GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
NED
Ret
ITA
5
EUR
Ret
RSA
Ret
1984 John Player Team Lotus Lotus 95T Renault BRA
3
RSA
7
BEL
5
SMR
3
FRA
5
MON
5
CAN
4
USE
2
USA
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 BRA
3
POR
4
SMR
1
MON
3
CAN
5
USA
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 BRA
8
ESP
Ret
SMR
Ret
MON
Ret
BEL
CAN
USA
FRA
GBR
GER
HUN
AUT
ITA
POR
MEX
AUS
25th 0