Wednesday 25th April 2001
Michele Alboreto (44) died in a testing crash. Michele Alboreto first got noted by winning the European and Italian Formula 3 championships as well as a works-driver for the Lancia works-team in the WSC. While racing in Formula 2, scoring Minardiís only F2 victory, Michele got a three-years-deal from Ken Tyrrell to drive for his team and made his Formula 1 debut at the 1981 San Marino GP. His first win came in 1982 in the Las Vegas GP and the following year in Detroit in 1983. Then Ferrari signed him for 1984 and Michele became the first Italian to race for Ferrari for over 10 years. He won the Belgian Grand Prix that year and in the 1985 season Michele scored wins in Canada and Germany but his World Championship challenge was beaten off by Alain Prost. In his three remaining seasons at Ferrari he failed to win another race. Out of a seat for 1988 he returned to Tyrrell but fell out with Ken in midseason. He took a drive with Larrousse at the end of the year but for 1990 he joined Arrows and stayed with the newly-named Footwork operation in 1991, hoping his career would be revived with Porsche V12 engines. They were a disaster and in 1993 he switched to Scuderia Italia which was using Lola cars and Ferrari engines. Another disaster. Then Scuderia Italia merged with Minardi in 1994, which was to be Alboretoís last year in F1. The Italian entered the history books by delivering the last victory to the good old Ford Cosworth DFV noraly aspirated V8 engine at the 1993 Detroit Grand Prix in a time when the dominant Formula 1 teams were all equipped with powerful turbocharged engines. After leaving F1 he resumed the side of his career that had brought success in sports cars in the early 80s and in 1997 won the Le Mans 24 Hours with his former Ferrari team mate Stefan Johansson and Tom Kristensen in a TWR-run Porsche. He went on to become an important member of the emerging Audi works-team and it was testing an R8 at the Lausitzring when he got killed when a high-speed tire failure sent the car airborne and landing upside down.