Twenty years have now passed since the accident at the Lausitzring – during a test at the wheel of an LMP1 class prototype – in which Michele Alboreto lost his life. The Italian driver was one of the protagonists of Formula 1 in the Eighties, first with Tyrrell and then with Ferrari.
In the World Championship Alboreto played 194 Grands Prix, eighty of which with the Maranello team. His victories were five, three at the wheel of a Scuderia car. Vice President Piero Ferrari, answering questions from Ferrari.com, drew a memory of the Milanese driver.
It is always difficult to summarize the memory of a person in a few words, it is even more so for Michele, with whom we have always remained friends, even after he had left Ferrari first and Formula 1 afterwards. He was an extremely polite person, a driver absolutely dedicated to the team and, above all, very rational in his choices.
Considered by all to be a very fast driver but also a gentleman, how had Alboreto impressed his father to the point of deciding to take him with him, putting an Italian back in a Ferrari more than ten years after Arturo Merzario?
Michele had shown in his years with the Tyrrell not only to be very fast, but above all to know how to be on all types of circuits and in very different conditions, a feature that had attracted my father’s attention together with the fact that being a person who stood out for his seriousness, commitment and balance: there were therefore all the right requirements to become a Scuderia driver.
Michele with Ferrari won in Belgium in his first season and then in Canada and Germany in 1985, when he came to play for the title with Alain Prost. Is there an episode of your adventure with the Scuderia that you remember in a particular way?
More than an episode there is a regret: that of not having put him in a position to win the world title and thus see an Italian world champion with Ferrari after Alberto Ascari. In those years the turbo engine was reaching its maximum evolution in terms of power and we were not yet as masters of that technology as we should have, so the reliability problems we suffered in the second half of 1985 prevented him from fighting for the title. against McLaren.
Alboreto was also on the podium in Monza in 1988, a few days after his father passed away. Is it dear to you for that too?
That edition of the Italian Grand Prix is one of the few in which I was not on the track with the team so I followed the race in front of the television: in a period as sad as the one I was experiencing, what he and Gerhard ( Berger) made me go up to the top steps of the podium.
Is there a talent of Michele that you see in one or both of the current Scuderia Ferrari drivers?
Just like Michele, Carlos and Charles have already shown in their careers that they are fast regardless of the conditions and the circuit: just last weekend at Imola they proved it! Furthermore, they are very constant in their performance, another quality that unites them to the Italian driver.