Luigi Fagioli  Italy

  • Full name Luigi Fagioli
  • Nickname The Abbruzzi Robber
  • Birth date June 9, 1898
  • Birthplace Ancona, Italy
  • Date of death June 20, 1952 (54 years 11 days)
  • Place of death Montecarlo, Monaco
  • Teams Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Maserati, Mercedes
driver portrait
World Championship Career
Year Car Race Start Won Pod Class Best Pole Front Best Lap Hat Pts Pos
1950 Alfa Romeo 6 6 0 5 5 2 0 4 2 0 0 28 3
1951 Alfa Romeo 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 7 0 0 4 11
Total 7 7 1 6 6 1 0 4 2 0 0 32
Race Circuit Date
First race British Grand Prix Silverstone May 13, 1950 Race results
Last race French Grand Prix Reims July 1, 1951 Race results

Luigi Fagioli was born into a wealthy family and that allowed him to live a privileged existence. He was in his late 20s when he took up racing cars, and he enjoyed enough success to be signed by Maserati as a works driver in 1930. He recorded wins from the off, and in 1931 won the Monza Grand Prix and followed with the Rome GP in 1932 as well as three second places.

In 1933 he switched to Scuderia Ferrari with tremendous success, including victory in the Italian Grand Prix. The following year he moved to the newly-created and Nazi-funded Mercedes team where he enjoyed a tempestuous but profitable three years despite often being at odds with team-mates and management. He won three races in both 1934 and 1935 but in a underperforming car he struggled in 1936 as Auto Union dominated. He was also beginning to suffer from rheumatism.

Controversially, he switched to Auto Union in 1937 and ill-feeling between him and former team-mate Rudolf Caracciola erupted at the Triploi GPas Fagioli reportedly attacked Caracciola with a wheel hammer. His rheumatism was also an increasing handicap - at times he had to walk with a stick - and he retired before the season was out.

In 1950, his health improved, he made a surprise comeback, joining Fangio and Farina as one of the three Fs in the victorious Alfa Romeo team; Fagioli took four second places in the fledgling World Championship. In 1951 he won the French GP, becoming the oldest F1 winner ever, but it was a bitter victory. During the race he was asked to hand his car over to Fangio; that was too much for him and he quit Formula One on the spot.

He continued in sports cars and in 1952 he was third at the Mille Miglia, beating Caracciola into third. But in a practice session or the Monaco sports car race he crashed his Lancia in the tunnel, braking an arm and a leg. He seemed to be recovering in hospital but complications set in and he died three weeks later.
Martin Williamson

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