|Wednesday, 13 April 2011 14:10|
Born: 13 July 1918. Milan, Italy
Died: 26 May 1955, Monaco
Cause of death: Thrown out of car in race.
Notable because. Uncanny similarity to his Fathers death. Alberto Ascari died on 26 May 1955, at the age of 36. Antonio Ascari was also 36 when he died, on 26 July 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.
Alberto Ascari was an Italian racing driver and twice Formula One World Champion. He is one of only two Italian Formula One World Champions in the history of the sport, and the only one winning his two championships in a Ferrari.
Born in Milan, Ascari was the son of Antonio Ascari, a talented Grand Prix motor racing star in the 1920s, racing Alfa Romeos. 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 motorcycles 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.
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 Monte Carlo 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 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.
His illustrious heritage helped, as did his superlative driving skill, but his winning persona also contributed to his huge popularity. It was easy to like a hero who was so obviously no prima donna, the driver with the plump physique whom the Italian fans nicknamed 'Ciccio' (chubby), and whose open and friendly disposition was apparent from his genial smile. Even his idiosyncratic superstitions were endearing, an entirely human response to the dangers of racing. He avoided black cats like the plague, had a horror of unlucky numbers and never allowed anyone else to handle the briefcase that contained his racing apparel: the lucky blue helmet and T-shirt, the goggles and gloves.
With success in Europe, Enzo Ferrari supplied a car for Ascari in the Indianapolis 500, at the time a World Championship event, in 1952. 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 France, 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 switched to Maserati and Lancia in 1954 but did not continue his dominance 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 an incident in Monaco where he crashed into the harbour after missing a chicane. Four days later, on 26 May, 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 a 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 26 May 1955, at the age of 36. Antonio Ascari was also 36 when he died, on 26 July 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".
Another curiosity is that the only other driver to crash into the harbour at Monaco in the circuit's history, Paul Hawkins, also died on 26 May. Hawkins crashed into the harbour 10 years after Ascari, before dying when his Lola crashed into a tree at a Tourist Trophy race at Oulton Park in 1969.
The British 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 honour.
The Ascari Chicane at Autodromo Nazionale Monza is named after him.
Gevril Men's 'Alberto Ascari' Swiss Automatic Stainless Steel and Leather Casual Watch, Color:Brown (Model: 1101)
Manufacturer: First SBF Holding Inc.
Amazon Price: $4,995.00
Offers - Buy New From: $4,995.00
Editorial Review: Alberto Ascari by Gevril Mens White rose Gold Watch
Editorial Review: Alberto Ascari was a multitalented Italian race car driver who competed in motorcycle racing before he drove world renowned Formula One autos. Back to back Formula 1 titles in 1952 and 1953 sandwiched an appearance at in the Indianapolis 500 in 1952. Ascari also drove and won the Italian Mille Miglia, an endurance event that he had failed to finish on earlier occasions. The race car driver once admitted that he warned his children not to become extremely close to him because of the risk involved in his profession. This proved a true premonition when Alberto was killed while testing a Ferrari near Milan, Italy in 1955. He was preparing for a 1000 kilometer race that he was to have run with his protege' Eugenio Castellotti on the weekend that followed his death.
Manufacturer: Alfred Pub Co
Amazon Price: $3.98
Offers - Buy New From: $47.38 Used From: $20.27
Editorial Review: On May 26, 1955 Alberto Ascari should have stayed in bed. Twice World Champion motor racing driver, he had, four days earlier, startled the racing world during the Monaco Grand Prix by plunging off the tarmac fifty feet into the sea below. Now battered and bruised he insisted on taking an unscheduled training run; unfit and without equipment it was totally out of character. "It is better to race again soon after an accident: he told amazed onlookers as he eased into the vehicle... Kevin Desmond has painted a compelling human story of a man at the summit of his profession destroyed by an obsession. Had he survived he would have ranked alongside Fangio, Nuvolari and Stewart as an all-time great; but it was not to be. The Man With Two Shadows will captivate both motor racing enthusiast and amateur psychologist alike.
Gevril Men's 'Alberto Ascari' Swiss Automatic Stainless Steel and Leather Casual Watch, Color:Black (Model: 1100)
Manufacturer: First SBF Holding Inc.
Amazon Price: $4,795.00
Offers - Buy New From: $4,795.00
Editorial Review: Alberto Ascari by Gevril Men's Black Rose Gold Watch
Manufacturer: Haynes Publishing
Amazon Price: $49.95
Offers - Buy New From: $2,128.01 Used From: $31.03
This lavishly illustrated volume vividly chronicles Alberto Ascari's legendary racing career. Award-winning author Karl Ludvigsen describes Ascari's foray into racing on Bianchi motorcycles, Ascari's 1940 Mille Miglia race; his win at the 1948 San Remo GP in a Maserati; his spectacular success in back-to-back world titles with Ferrari in 1952 and 1953; his frustrating move to Lancia in 1954; up through and including Ascari's devastating and fatal crash at Monza.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 June 2012 12:27|