Ricardo Rodríguez (racing driver)

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Ricardo Rodríguez
Nationality Flag of Mexico Mexican
Formula One World Championship career
Active years1961 - 1962
Races6 (5 starts)
Career points4
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
First race1961 Italian Grand Prix
Last race1962 Italian Grand Prix

Ricardo Rodríguez (14 February 1942, Mexico City - 1 November 1962, Magdalena Mixhuca Circuit, Mexico City [1]) was a Mexican racing driver who competed in the 1961 and 1962 Formula One seasons. His elder brother, Pedro, was also a noted racing driver who had much success in sports car racing and Formula One.

Rodríguez was a child cycling champion who switched to motorcycles in domestic competition from the age of 14. He won several national motorcycle titles, before taking up saloon car racing in his own Fiat Topolino. In 1957 he made his international debut at Riverside, beating all comers in the under 1.5 litre class in a Porsche RS. He then won his class in a Porsche Spyder in the Nassau Tourist Trophy. He often raced for the North American Racing Team (NART) with his brother Pedro, although he would also enter cars under his father's name. He was refused an entry at Le Mans in 1956, but went back in 1959 to race an OSCA in the 750cc. class. In the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans he partnered André Pilette to second place; at 18 years of age, the youngest ever to stand on the podium at Le Mans.

Rodríguez was given a guest drive by Ferrari for the 1961 Italian Grand Prix, qualifying a surprise second. In the race he exchanged the lead with Phil Hill and Richie Ginther many times, until a fuel pump failure ended his race. He was the youngest ever F1 driver at that time. 1962 saw a full works drive with Ferrari, who used him sparingly considering his age and rough edges. Whenever used, Rodríguez shone, taking second at the Pau Grand Prix, fourth at the Belgian Grand Prix and sixth at the German Grand Prix in a tough year in Formula One for Ferrari. He also won the Targa Florio with Olivier Gendebien and Willy Mairesse.

Rodríguez was considered a potential future champion already, but was left without a drive when Ferrari opted not to enter the non-Championship 1962 Mexican Grand Prix. He signed to drive Rob Walker's Lotus, but died during the first day of practice, when he inexplicably failed to brake for the fearsome Peraltada corner, and entered the banked turn far too fast, hitting the barriers at the exit. He was 20 years old and his death provoked national mourning in Mexico.

The Scuderia Rodríguez A.C. (a family foundation) keeps his memory, and that of his brother alive. It serves as register for Rodríguez memorabilia and cars, certifying them, and its Secretary General Carlos Jalife will publish the first volume of the Rodríguez biography in 2006, with the second to follow shortly.[dated info]

Complete Formula One World Championship results


Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 WDC Points
1961 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 156 Ferrari V6 MON
NC 0
1962 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 156 Ferrari V6 NED
13th 4

Preceded by
Wolfgang Von Trips
Formula One fatal accidents
November 1, 1962
Succeeded by
Gary Hocking
Preceded by
Troy Ruttman
20 years, 80 days
(1950 Indianapolis 500)
Youngest Driver to start
a Formula One race

19 years, 208 days
(1961 Italian Grand Prix)
Succeeded by
Mike Thackwell
19 years, 182 days
(1980 Canadian GP)
Preceded by
Bruce McLaren
21 years, 253 days
(1959 Monaco GP)
Youngest Driver to score
Points in Formula One

20 years, 123 days
(1962 Belgian Grand Prix)
Succeeded by
Jenson Button
20 years, 67 days
(2000 Brazilian GP)