|First race||Argentine Grand Prix||Buenos Aires||January 21, 1979||Race results|
|Last race||Monaco Grand Prix||Monaco||May 11, 1986||Race results|
Very few drivers have reached Formula One as early in life as Elio did, for he had a full-time ride when he was just 20. Coming from a wealthy family, he cut his teeth on karts, then blasted into Formula Three, pipping Piercarlo Ghinzani to the 1977 Italian crown. He then won the 1978 Monaco Formula Three race, but had little to shout about in Formula Two. Family backing propelled him into Formula One for 1979 with Shadow. Elio picked up a fourth place at Watkins Glen, but the car was never really competitive. He joined Lotus for 1980 and made the most of the superior equipment to finish second in his second outing, in Brazil. The following year showed consistent points scoring, then, in Austria in 1982, he had his first win, by a nose, from Keke Rosberg's Williams.
A change to Renault engines scuppered 1983, but 1984 was much better and Elio ended up third overall. A second win was picked up in San Marino in 1985, and he led the title race awhile before falling back to fifth at season's end. Elio moved to Brabham for 1986 and it was while testing at Paul Ricard that he crashed and died.
Reproduced from The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Formula One published by Carlton Books