Cesare Fiorio

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Cesare Fiorio (born May 5 1939 in Turin, Italy) is a former Formula One sporting director for Ferrari, Ligier and Minardi, and former team manager of Lancia's factory World Rally Championship team. He is currently employed as a TV commentator. His son Alex Fiorio became a professional rally driver.

Biography


Cesare Fiorio is the son of Sandro Fiorio, former chief of the public relations department of Lancia. He began racing with Fiat, winning the Italian GT championship in 1961. He also entered the Monte Carlo Rally, but the race ended with an accident; this was his only rally he competed in.

He obtained a degree in Political Science. Soon afterwards, in February 1963, he joined the Lancia management and established a racing team which he called HF Squadra Corse, which would become one of the most successful rally teams. Lancia was initially not keen on racing, and Fiorio wanted to change this attitude: he started preparing some Lancia Flavia, which entered many local rallies, obtaining some victories. In 1965, the team became a semi-works operation, and began hiring talented engineers to improve the Flavias; finally, in 1967, Ove Andersson won the Rally Catalunya and Sandro Munari won the Rallye de France.

In 1969, the team was moved to the Lancia factory to become its official motorsport department; that year the team won the European title with Harry Kallstrom, beating other manufacturers such as Alpine (car), Ford Motor Company and Porsche. Soon afterwards, Fiat bought the Lancia company, but Fiorio was left at the head of the team. In 1972 Munari won the Monte Carlo Rally and the team won the International Championship for Manufacturers; the following year Munari won the European Rally Championship title. Fiorio then began to push Lancia to develop the new Lancia Stratos and managed to get a supply of Dino engines from Ferrari. The car proved to be successful and Lancia won the 1974 World Rally Championship season, 1975 World Rally Championship season and 1976 World Rally Championship season World Rally Championship List of World Rally Championship Constructors' Champions. At the same time Fiorio was an active powerboat racer, winning 31 races, six European and two World titles in his classes. Lancia was also involved in sportscar racing since 1979 with the Lancia Monte Carlo model, followed by the Lancia LC1 and LC2 prototypes; Lancia won the World Sportscar Championship in 1981 World Sportscar Championship season and the program continued until 1985 World Sportscar Championship season.

In 1980 Lancia even discussed building a Turbocharger F1 engine for Toleman team but nothing came of this; rallying then remained the focus with the Lancia 037 model, which won the World Championship in 1983 World Rally Championship season, followed by the Lancia Delta S4.

In 1984 Fiorio was appointed head of the sporting activities of Fiat, and got a place on the board of directors of Juventus F.C. in 1987. When Fiat bought Alfa Romeo in 1988, he was appointed head of Alfa Corse, the racing department of this marque.

In 1989 Formula One season he debuted as sporting director of Ferrari, with the hard task of making the team competitive again after some disappointing seasons in the mid-80s; the team won the first race in 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix with Nigel Mansell, and then again in 1989 Hungarian Grand Prix and in 1989 Portuguese Grand Prix, but poor reliability prevented the team from competing with McLaren and WilliamsF1. In 1990 Formula One season Ferrari employed the reigning World Champion Alain Prost, and almost won the title, losing it at the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix with the second of the infamous Prost-Ayrton Senna collisions. Fiorio was sacked by Ferrari weeks before the beginning of the 1991 Formula One season, but only left after the team′s disastrous performance at the 1991 San Marino Grand Prix.[1]

In 1994 Formula One season he returned to Formula One as team manager of Ligier, then owned by Flavio Briatore, but he was released the following year when Tom Walkinshaw took over the team. He was briefly involved with the Forti team in 1996 Formula One season until its demise mid-season, and then returned to Ligier and remained there until the team was taken over by Prost and became Prost Grand Prix. At the end of 1998 Formula One season he joined Minardi as sporting director and he remained there until the middle of 2000 Formula One season when he resigned after a disagreement with team owner Gabriele Rumi.

In 1994, Fiorio was appointed Cavaliere della Repubblica Italiana. He is currently employed by the Italian TV station RAI.

References


  1. Zapelloni, Umberto. Formula Ferrari. Hodder & Stoughton. pp. p. 17. ISBN 0-340-83471-4. 

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