Alberto Ascari

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Alberto Ascari
FIA Super Licence Flag of Italy Italy
Formula One World Championship career
Active years1950 Formula One season - 1955 Formula One season
TeamsFerrari, Maserati, Lancia in Formula One
Races33 (32 starts)
List of Formula One World Drivers' Champions2 (1952 Formula One season, 1953 Formula One season)
Career points107.64 (140.14)[1]
Pole position14
Fastest lap12
First race1950 Monaco Grand Prix
First win1951 German Grand Prix
Last win1953 Swiss Grand Prix
Last race1955 Monaco Grand Prix

Alberto Ascari (July 13, 1918May 26, 1955) was an Italy Racing driver and twice Formula One List of Formula One World Drivers' Champions. He is one of only two Italian Formula One World Champions in the history of the sport.


Early life

Born in Milan, Ascari was the son of Antonio Ascari, a talented Grand Prix motor racing star in the 1920s, racing Alfa Romeo in motorsport. Antonio was killed while leading the French Grand Prix in 1925 but the younger Ascari had an interest in racing in spite of it. He raced Motorcycle in his earlier years; it was after he entered the prestigious Mille Miglia in a Ferrari sports car that he eventually started racing on four wheels regularly.

Formula One/World Championship career

Alberto Ascari at the wheel of a Maserati 4CLT/48, on his way to second place in the 1948 British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit.

Following the end of World War II Alberto Ascari began racing in Grands Prix with Maserati. His team-mate was Luigi Villoresi, who would become a Mentor and friend to Ascari. Formula One regulations were introduced by the FIA in 1946, with the aim of eventually replacing the pre-war Grand Prix structure. During the next four transitional years, Ascari was at the top of his game, winning numerous events around Europe. He won his first Grand Prix race in Sanremo, Italy in 1948 and took second place in the British Grand Prix the same year. Ascari won another race with the team the following year. His biggest success came after he joined Villoresi on the Ferrari team; he won three more races that year with them. The first Formula One World Championship season took place in 1950, and the Ferrari team made its World Championship debut at 1950 Monaco Grand Prix with Ascari, Villoresi, and the popular French driver Raymond Sommer on the team. Ascari finished 2nd in the race and later in the year shared a 2nd place at the first World Championship race at Autodromo Nazionale Monza. He was only 5th in the championship standings however. He won his first World Championship F1 race the following season on the Nürburgring circuit and added a win at Monza, finishing runner up in the championship to Juan Manuel Fangio.

With success in Europe, Enzo Ferrari supplied a car for Ascari in the Indianapolis 500, at the time a World Championship event, in 1952 Indianapolis 500. He was the only European driver to race at Indy in its 11 years on the World Championship schedule, but his day ended after 40 laps. That was the only World Championship event in which he competed that season that he didn't win. Ascari's Ferrari Tipo 500 dominated 1952, winning all six races in Europe that season and recording the fastest lap in each race. He nearly scored the maximum amount of points a driver could earn, but drivers were given points for fastest laps at the time, and he had to share a half point with another driver in one race.

He won three more consecutive races to start the 1953 season, giving him nine straight wins (not counting Indy) before his streak ended when he finished 4th in 1953 French Grand Prix, although it was a close 4th as the race was highly competitive. He earned two more wins later in the year to give himself a second consecutive World Championship. Ascari did not continue his dominance in 1954 as he failed to finish a race in his four attempts at F1, although he made up for it by winning the Mille Miglia.


His 1955 season started similarly, retiring twice more, the latter of which was a spectacular incident in Monaco where he crashed into the harbour after missing a Chicane. Four days later, on May 26, he went to Monza to watch his friend Eugenio Castellotti test a Ferrari 750 Monza sports car, which they were to co-race in the Supercortemaggiore 1000 km race (having been given special dispensation by Lancia). Just before going home to have lunch with his wife Mietta, he decided to try a few laps with the Ferrari. In shirt sleeves, ordinary trousers and Castellotti’s helmet he set off. As he emerged from a fast curve on the third lap the car unaccountably skidded, turned on its nose and somersaulted twice. Thrown out on the track, Ascari suffered multiple injuries and died a few minutes later.

The crash occurred on the Curva di Vialone, one of the track's challenging high-speed corners. The corner where the accident happened, renamed in his honour, no longer exists, having been replaced with a chicane, the Variante Ascari.

Legend has it that Ascari was a very superstitious man and would always insist on using his distinct pale blue crash helmet. On the day he died, his helmet wasn’t available, so he borrowed Castellotti’s white one. The helmet was at the repair shop, having new chin strap fitted after the incident in Monte Carlo which saw Ascari's Lancia take a dip in the Monaco harbour.

The eerie similarities between the deaths of Alberto and his father still haunt his fans to this day. Alberto Ascari died on May 26, 1955, at the age of 36. Antonio Ascari was also 36 when he died, on July 26, 1925 (Alberto was only 4 days older). Both father and son had won 13 championship Grand Prix and drove car number 26. Both were killed four days after surviving serious accidents and on the 26th day of the month. Both had crashed fatally at the exit of fast but easy left-hand corners and both left behind a wife and two children. Fans from all across the globe mourned as Alberto Ascari was laid to rest next to the grave of his father in the Cimitero Monumentale cemetery in Milan, to be forever remembered as one of the greatest racers of all time.

A distraught Mietta Ascari told Enzo Ferrari that were it not for their children she would gladly have joined her beloved Alberto in heaven.


The Great Britain manufacturer, Ascari Cars of the Ascari KZ1 Supercar is named in his honour.

In 1992, he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

There is a street in Rome (in the EUR region) named in his honor.

The Ascari Chicane at Autodromo Nazionale Monza is named after him.

Complete World Championship results

(F1 driver results legend 2) (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 WDC Points[1]
1950 Formula One season Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 125 Ferrari V12 engine 1950 British Grand Prix
1950 Monaco Grand Prix
1950 Indianapolis 500
1950 Swiss Grand Prix
1950 French Grand Prix
5th 11
Ferrari 125/275 1950 Belgian Grand Prix
Ferrari 375 1950 Italian Grand Prix
2 *
1951 Formula One season Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 375 Ferrari V12 engine 1951 Swiss Grand Prix
1951 Indianapolis 500
1951 Belgian Grand Prix
1951 French Grand Prix
2 †
1951 British Grand Prix
1951 German Grand Prix
1951 Italian Grand Prix
1951 Spanish Grand Prix
2nd 25 (28)
1952 Formula One season Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 375 Ferrari V12 engine 1952 Indianapolis 500
1st 36 (53.5)
Ferrari 500 Ferrari Straight-4 1952 Swiss Grand Prix
1952 Belgian Grand Prix
1952 French Grand Prix
1952 British Grand Prix
1952 German Grand Prix
1952 Dutch Grand Prix
1952 Italian Grand Prix
1953 Formula One season Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 500 Ferrari Straight-4 1953 Argentine Grand Prix
1953 Indianapolis 500
1953 Dutch Grand Prix
1953 Belgian Grand Prix
1953 French Grand Prix
1953 British Grand Prix
1953 German Grand Prix
8 ‡
1953 Swiss Grand Prix
1953 Italian Grand Prix
1st 34.5 (46.5)
1954 Formula One season Maserati Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati Straight-6 1954 Argentine Grand Prix
1954 Indianapolis 500
1954 Belgian Grand Prix
1954 French Grand Prix
1954 British Grand Prix
1954 German Grand Prix
1954 Swiss Grand Prix
25th 1.14
Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari Ferrari 625 F1 Ferrari Straight-4 1954 Italian Grand Prix
Lancia in Formula One Lancia in Formula One D50 Lancia in Formula One V8 engine 1954 Spanish Grand Prix
1955 Formula One season Lancia in Formula One Lancia in Formula One D50 Lancia in Formula One V8 engine 1955 Argentine Grand Prix
1955 Monaco Grand Prix
1955 Indianapolis 500
1955 Belgian Grand Prix
1955 Dutch Grand Prix
1955 British Grand Prix
1955 Italian Grand Prix
NC 0
* Indicates shared drive with Dorino Serafini
† Indicates shared drive with José Froilán González
‡ Indicates shared drive with Luigi Villoresi

World Championship Records

  • During the 1952 and 1953 World Championship seasons, Ascari set the fastest lap in 7 successive races, an achievement that has not been matched to date. The driver to have come closest is Kimi Räikkönen with 6 (in 2008 Formula One season).
  • During the 1952 and 1953 World Championship seasons, Ascari won 9 World Championship Grands Prix in succession. Note that to arrive at the statistic of 9 successive races requires the exclusion of the 1953 Indianapolis 500. This caveat is usually permitted on the basis that the Indianapolis 500, whilst a round of the World Championship, was run to a different formula from the other World Championship events, and very few of the regular World Championship teams and drivers competed at Indianapolis and vice versa (Ascari's participation in the 1952 Indianapolis race being one of the few exceptions).

Indy 500 results

Year[2] Car Start Qual Rank Finish Laps Led Retired
1952 Indianapolis 500 12 19 134.308 25 31 40 0 Spun T4
Totals 40 0
Starts 1
Poles 0
Front Row 0
Wins 0
Top 5 0
Top 10 0
Retired 1
  • Ascari was the only regular F1 driver to participate in the Indianapolis 500 while the race was part of the FIA World Championship (1950-1960).


  1. 1.0 1.1 Up until 1990 Formula One season, not all points scored by a driver contributed to their final World Championship tally (see List of Formula One World Championship pointscoring systems for more information). Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.
  2. Alberto Ascari Indy 500 Race Stats [1]

Other References

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
inaugural winner
BRDC International Trophy
Succeeded by
Giuseppe Farina
Preceded by
Juan Manuel Fangio
List of Formula One World Drivers' Champions
1952 Formula One season-1953 Formula One season
Succeeded by
Juan Manuel Fangio
Preceded by
Reg Parnell
38 years, 315 days
(1950 British Grand Prix)
List of Formula One driver records
31 years, 312 days
(1950 Monaco Grand Prix)
Succeeded by
Manny Ayulo
29 years, 221 days
(1951 Indianapolis 500)
Preceded by
Reg Parnell
38 years, 315 days
(1950 British Grand Prix)
List of Formula One driver records
31 years, 312 days
(1950 Monaco Grand Prix)
Succeeded by
Cecil Green
30 years, 242 days
(1950 Indianapolis 500)
Preceded by
Juan Manuel Fangio
6 wins

(1950 Formula One season - 1952 Formula One season)
List of Formula One driver records
13 wins
7th at the 1952 Dutch Grand Prix
Succeeded by
Juan Manuel Fangio
24 wins
14th at the 1955 Argentine Grand Prix
Preceded by
Juan Manuel Fangio
40 years, 126 days
(1951 Formula One season)
List of Formula One World Drivers' Champions
34 years, 16 days
(1952 Formula One season)
Succeeded by
Mike Hawthorn
29 years, 192 days
(1958 Formula One season)
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