Saturday 26th May 2001
Vittorio Brambilla (63), a Formula One driver from Italy who raced for the March, Surtees and Alfa Romeo teams, died. The Italian F3 Champion of 1972 moved through F2 into F1 in 1974. His moment came in Austria when he scored the March factory teamís first-ever championship Grand Prix win in pouring rain at the Osterreichring. Swapping March for Surtess in 1977 he also drove for Alfa Romeo in the World Sports Car Championship scoring four wins with the T33 and winning the Championship for the team. Vittorio was involved in the start crash in Monza 1978 which claimed the life of Ronnie Peterson, suffering severe concussion which kept him out of the cockpit for almost a year, before Alfa Romeo brought him back for the last three races of the season. He made two more appearances for them in 1980, but it was painfully obvious that his days as a Grand Prix driver were over, though he did race the Osella sports car in a few rounds of the World Championship of Makes, before phasing himself out completely in 1981. He died of a heart attack at the age of 63 while working in his garden.