Michele Alboreto: Remembering a racer and a gentleman

On this day twenty years ago, the world of motorsport mourned the loss of Michele Alboreto, the last Italian to win a Grand Prix for Ferrari.

Alboreto was killed testing an Audi R8 at the Lausitzring in Germany, a tragedy which left the motorsport community absolutely stunned with grief. Michele was just 44.

A veteran of 194 Grands Prix and a five-time F1 winner, Alboreto was smart, sensitive and hugely likeable, and a man who embodied a racing spirit from a bygone era.

Ken Tyrrell gave the Italian his F1 apprenticeship, a privilege he put to good use by delivering to Uncle Ken his final two Grand Prix victories before moving to the House of Maranello in 1984.

He was a strong contender for the world championship in 1985, but the Scuderia's reliability woes that year enabled McLaren's Alain Prost to slip by and clinch the title.

Alboreto's F1 career slowly dwindled down thereafter as he moved from one under-performing team to the other, ultimately bowing out with Minardi at the end of 1994.

He put his outstanding skills to good use in sportscar racing however, winning the Le Mans 24 Hours with a Porsche in 1997.

Twenty years on from Alboreto’s tragic passing, Ferrari Vice President Piero Ferrari recalled and paid tribute to the Italian charger.

“It’s always difficult to sum up someone in just a few words, even more so in Michele’s case,” said the son of the legendary Enzo Ferrari.

“We were always good friends, even after he left Ferrari and then the sport itself. He was extremely polite, absolutely dedicated to the team and, above all, very rational in his decisions.

“During his time at Tyrrell, Michele had proved to be very quick on every type of circuit and in any conditions, a characteristic that attracted my father’s attention, as well as the fact that he was clearly serious, committed and well balanced. He therefore had all the right qualities to be a Scuderia driver.”