|First race||Monaco Grand Prix||Monaco||May 22, 1977||Race results|
|Last race||Australian Grand Prix||Adelaide||November 7, 1993||Race results|
Although Riccardo was one of the most popular personalities in Formula One in the latter stages of his career, in his youth he was grand prix racing's "enfant terrible". The personality transformation took place over a decade at the beginning of what turned into Formula One's longest career - 256 grand prix starts. At the beginning he was quick but unruly and, although he led the South African Grand Prix in 1978 in the new Arrows team's second race, success eluded him until he joined Brabham in 1982, when he won the Monaco Grand Prix. He made too many mistakes, though, and in 1983 he threw away the San Marino Grand Prix, but put in a flawless performance to win in South Africa.
In the mid-1980s his career went into a downward spiral, with Alfa Romeo and then Brabham, only for him to be given a chance to revitalize it with Williams in 1988. He forged an excellent working relationship with technical director Patrick Head, and also returned to winning ways, finding a new serenity in simply being lucky enough, as he saw it, to be employed by a top team in a sport he loved. This rejuvenation was never more evident than when Nigel Mansell returned to the team in 1991, and he had to play second fiddle to Riccardo through the first half of the season.
In 1992, though, Riccardo was pushed into the shadows by Mansell and, after a season at Benetton when he could not match Michael Schumacher's pace, Formula One left him behind. Despite offers to return in 1994, he chose to concentrate on touring cars until retiring at the end of 1997.
Reproduced from The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Formula One published by Carlton Books