Greatest Italian F1 Drivers Who Have Dominated the Track

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Posted: March 21, 2024

Updated: March 21, 2024

  • Italy’s contributions to car racing and Formula 1 in particular is hard to overestimate
  • The country was (and still is) full of talented drivers - take a look at the best among them

Italy’s contributions to car racing and Formula 1 in particular is hard to overestimate. Even before the inception of the World Championship in 1950, Italian racers and their advanced machinery played a pivotal role in shaping the essence of modern-day motorsport. To honor their rich heritage, we present our list of the greatest Italian F1 drivers in history. You can also read about the top 5 Mexican drivers in F1.

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5 greatest Italian F1 drivers in our opinion

Here is a compilation of the greatest Italian F1 drivers who have left a lasting impact on the motorsport world. This list is based on drivers’ contributions to Formula 1 and other car racing competitions, impressive personal achievements, and our subjective perspective on their legendary status.

Alberto Ascari

Alberto Ascari was one of the greatest Italian F1 drivers who secured the Formula 1 World Championship twice. Known for his precision and exceptional accuracy, Ascari initially excelled in motorcycle racing before transitioning to cars. His success culminated in back-to-back F1 titles in 1952 and 1953 with Scuderia Ferrari, making him the team’s inaugural World Champion and the last Italian driver to claim this honor as of 2024. You can bet on this situation to change at online gambling sites in Italy.

In Ferrari’s racing history annals, Ascari stands alongside Michael Schumacher as the only driver to secure consecutive World Championships. He also holds the distinction of being Ferrari’s sole Italian champion. Ascari’s achievement as the first driver to clinch multiple World Championship titles earned him the record for most titles from 1952 to 1954, joining a select group of four drivers who have held this distinction. The record passed to Juan Manuel Fangio in 1954 until 2002, when Schumacher claimed it, later sharing it with Lewis Hamilton starting in 2020. 

Riccardo Patrese

Riccardo Gabriele Patrese is an ex-racing driver who participated in F1 from 1977 to 1993. He made history by becoming the first Formula 1 driver to reach 200 Grand Prix starts at the 1990 British Grand Prix and later achieving 250 starts at the 1993 German Grand Prix. 

greatest Italian F1 drivers
Picture Source: Flickr

Holding the record for the most Formula 1 Grand Prix starts for 19 years, Patrese competed in 256 races out of 257 entries until the end of the 2023 season, making him the tenth-most experienced driver to date and one of the greatest Italian F1 drivers.

In 1992, at the age of 38, he finished as the runner-up in the Formula 1 World Championship, following third-place finishes in 1989 and 1991. Patrese secured six Formula race victories, notably with a substantial gap of more than six years between two of them – the 1983 South African Grand Prix and the 1990 San Marino Grand Prix. 

Additionally, he participated in the World Sportscar Championship, where he earned eight wins. Although the event doesn’t exist anymore, you can check out other car races at 22BET Sportsbook.

Michele Alboreto

Another notable name on the list is Michele Alboreto’s. He achieved second place behind Alain Prost in the 1985 Formula 1 World Championship and also secured victories in the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 2001 12 Hours of Sebring sports car races. 

Alboreto participated in F1 from 1981 to 1994, representing various teams, including a notable stint with Ferrari from 1984 to 1988. His motorsport journey started in 1976 in the Formula Monza series, where he initially raced a car constructed with his friends, although it met limited success. Then, Alboreto transitioned to Formula Three, where he clinched wins in the Italian Formula Three championship and claimed the European Formula Three Championship title in 1980, leading to his debut in F1 with the Tyrrell team. 

greatest Italian F1 drivers
Picture Source: Wikimedia Commons

Notable victories in Las Vegas in 1982 and Detroit in 1983 secured his position at Ferrari, where he won three races and competed with Alain Prost for the 1985 Championship. Following less successful seasons, Alboreto left Ferrari in 1988, returning to Tyrrell before joining Larrousse in 1989 and later racing for Footwork, Scuderia Italia, and Minardi towards the end of his Formula 1 career. Transitioning to sportscars in 1995 and subsequently to the American IndyCar series in 1996, he achieved significant victories, including the 1997 Le Mans 24 Hours and the 2001 Sebring 12 Hours, driving for Porsche and Audi, respectively. Tragically, in 2001, Alboreto lost his life while testing an Audi R8 at the Lausitzring in Germany, shortly after his Sebring triumph.

Giancarlo Fisichella

Giancarlo Fisichella, also known as Fisico, Giano, or Fisi, is an Italian professional racing driver and the captain of the official Nazionale Piloti association football team, which comprises racing drivers. He has competed in Formula 1 for teams like Minardi, Jordan, Benetton, Sauber, Renault, Force India, and Ferrari. Additionally, he has driven for AF Corse in their Ferrari 458 GTE at various sports car events, achieving success as a Le Mans 24-Hour class winner twice and a GT class winner of the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. In 2010, he served as Ferrari’s F1 reserve driver.

 Fisichella’s Formula 1 career includes winning three races, with his first victory at the tumultuous 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix, where the race was stopped due to safety concerns with 15 laps remaining. Following a period of uncertainty about rules and technicalities, Fisichella was eventually declared the winner the following week and received his trophy at an unofficial ceremony during the subsequent race. 

In 2005, the driver joined the Renault team to replace Jarno Trulli and clinched his first win with them in Australia. Despite being highly regarded as one of the greatest Italian F1 drivers, Fisichella couldn’t match the success of his teammate Fernando Alonso, who dominated races for Renault. While he managed another race win after his debut, he struggled to keep up with Alonso, who ultimately became the champion.

greatest Italian F1 drivers
Picture Source: Wikimedia Commons 

Nevertheless, Fisichella’s contributions helped Renault secure consecutive Constructors’ titles from 2005 to 2006. Beyond driving, he has supported his own GP2 team, FMS International. In 2012, Fisichella succeeded in the GTE Pro division of the Le Mans 24hrs for AF Corse and later secured the Manufacturers’ title in the WEC at the end of the season.

 Jarno Trulli

Jarno Trulli is an Italian race car driver. He participated in Formula 1 races from 1997 to 2011, representing teams such as Minardi, Prost, Jordan, Renault, Toyota, Lotus Racing, and Team Lotus. His highest achievement in the World Drivers’ Championship was finishing sixth in 2004, the same year he clinched his sole F1 victory at the Monaco Grand Prix. By the way, you can bet on the upcoming GP at online sportsbooks in Italy.

During his Formula 1 tenure, Trulli was widely recognised for his exceptional qualifying abilities. He often secured superior starting positions despite driving cars that were not as competitive as those of his rivals. He was also known for his defensive driving style, effectively fending off faster opponents throughout races. This earned him the nickname ‘Trulli Train’ as multiple cars trailed behind him during races due to his strategic prowess.

While initially set to compete in Formula 1 in 2012, Trulli retired before the season commenced. Subsequently, he participated in the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship from 2014 to 2015, driving for his own team, Trulli GP. Trulli is also the father of Enzo Trulli, who’s also a professional racing driver.

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