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Italy Clemente Biondetti

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1950Italy Clemente Biondetti Ferrari   Jaguar XK 3.4 L6 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa 

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Formula One was built upon the legends and achievements of its earliest drivers. Many of its first drivers already had careers that were the stuff of legend, none more so than Clemente Biondetti. In some ways Biondetti's career served as a foundation for not only Formula One history, but grand prix and endurance racing history on a whole. Clemente's career spanned two eras. The first part of Biondetti's career was the golden era filled with such drivers as Nuvolari and Campari. The second part of Clemente's career continued into the re-emergence of sports car and grand prix racing, where such drivers as Farina and Fangio battled it out in the beginnings of Formula One's history.

Born in Budduso, Sardinia in 1898, Biondetti's beginnings were nothing but humble. Clemente's family moved from Sardinia in the 1920s. A few years later, Clemente started racing motorcycles but switched to cars toward the end of the decade. By the time the 1930s came Biondetti had been driving Talbots. He had achieved considerable success in lower levels of racing such as being the 1927 Italian national champion. This enabled this man from humble beginnings to afford going racing, and racing he did.

Despite not faring particularly well between 1931 to 33, Biondetti's past success and talents led to Maserati approaching him to drive one of their factory cars at different events.

Clemente appeared at the Reale Premio Roma in 1932, racing in the category 3 class, which was cars well over 2,000cc. Biondetti didn't finish his heat race though as his MG Speciale suffered clutch problems.

In May of 1932, Biondetti was again driving his 2.5 liter MG Speciale in the Targa Florio that took place in Palermo. However, once again, Clemente failed to finish the race; a race in which Tazio Nuvolari won in an Alfa Romeo Monza for Scuderia Ferrari. At the Coppa Ciano in July of 1932, Clemente was behind the wheel of an MG-Maserati. However, Biondetti suffered yet another DNF.

Two weeks later, Biondetti was again driving a Maserati, but this time at the Coppa Acerbo at Pescara, Italy. Biondetti went on to finish the race 8th behind other famous names like Nuvolari, Carraciolla and Fagioli.

In September of 1932, Clemente was at the Grand Priz of Monza in his MG-Maserati. The entire event was broken up into heat races and a final race. Biondetti competed in the 3rd heat. Biondetti came in 4th place in his heat race behind the heat winner Campari. In the 20 lap final Clemente's race never really got going. Clemente's race was over after completing just one lap.
1950Ferrari 166 Spyder CorsaJaguar XK 3.4 L6

1933 seemed to be a repeat for Biondetti. Starting at the Tripoli Grand Prix, Clemente started from the middle of the 5th row. Just as was the case with most of the races in 1932, Clemente's Tripoli Grand Prix came to an end just two laps into the race.

Clemente then started 7th at the Grand Prix de la Marne in July, at the Reims-Gueux circuit. Though it is unknown for sure, according to records, Biondetti's race once again could not go past two laps.

These poor performances did have an upside to them. The fact was it could only get better because it really wasn't possible to get a whole lot worse. A little lift came at the end of July in Montenero and the Coppa Ciano. Clemente started the 12 lap race on the 20 kilometer circuit from the 15th spot on the grid. He ended up actually finishing the race in 10th place, finishing over 26 minutes behind winner Nuvolari. Things went back downhill though as he suffered two-straight DNFs at the Grand Prix of Nice and the Italian Grand Prix. The Monza Grand Prix, however, was a turning point. Clemente was in the 3rd heat. Prior to Clemente's heat, the famous and popular Campari and Borzacchini died due to a crash resulting from oil being on the track. However, this wasn't to be the end of the tragedies at the Monza Grand Prix that day. Biondetti started his heat 2nd with his Maserati powered Bugatti chassis. He ended up 3rd in his heat race behind Lehoux and Ghersi.

In the final race Clemente started 9th, on the inside of the three-abreast second row. The fans at the race became horror-stricken when Count Czaykowski, who had been leading and pulling away at the time, left the banking and crashed into the woods. Czaykowski's head struck a lonely stone and instantly killed him. On top of it all, his crashed Bugatti trapped his body underneath it. The car erupted into flames and burned out. Only after the fire ceased were the emergency crews able to pull his body out.

Overshadowed by the death of three drivers in one day, Clemente was able to bring his speciale home in 6th place. This race, the last one Clemente competed in 1933, set the stage for what was to be a turnaround from the toilsome DNFs he had been suffering.

Biondetti's first race of 1934, the Bordino Grand Prix, had Clemente as one of 34 entrants. The race was broken up into two heats with a 15 lap final race. Clemente arrived at the race driving for the Gruppo Genovese San Giorgio team, which used the popular Maserati 8CM. Biondetti started 5th in heat one and ended up finishing the 8 lap heat race 6th. Despite the rather good result, only the first five finishers moved on to the final race, so Biondetti's Bordino Grand Prix was over.

166 Spyder Corsa166 Spyder Corsa166 Spyder Corsa166 Spyder Corsa166 Spyder Corsa166 Spyder Corsa166 Spyder Corsa
In May of 1934, Clemente took on 29 other drivers in the Grand Prix of Tripoli. Now driving a Maserati T26M for Gruppo Genovese San Giorgio, Clemente started the race from the inside of the 5th row. Despite the poor starting spot Biondetti kept his head about him and climbed steadily up through the field. In the end, Biondetti finished 5th behind the Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeos of Varzi, Moll and Chiron and another 8CM Maserati of Philippe Etancelin.

Biondetti followed this result with an 8th place finish at the Casablanca Grand Prix, driving the Maserati T26M again.

After a couple of DNFs and a 5th in a heat race at the Dieppe Grand Prix, Clemente competed at the Swiss Grand Prix held at Bremgarten. This time, Biondetti drove a Maserati 4C for Officine Alfieri Maserati. Clemente finished 8th, some four laps down to the Auto Union A Type of Hans Stuck.

Italy Drivers  F1 Drivers From Italy 
Michele Alboreto
Giovanna Amati
Marco Apicella
Alberto Ascari
Luca Badoer
Giancarlo Baghetti
Mauro Baldi
Lorenzo Bandini
Fabrizio Barbazza
Paolo Barilla
Giorgio Bassi
Enrico Bertaggia
Guerino Bertocchi
Clemente Biondetti
Felice Bonetto
Ernesto 'Tino' Brambilla
Vittorio Brambilla
Gianfranco Brancatelli
Gianmaria 'Gimmi' Bruni
Roberto Bussinello
Giulio Cabianca
Alessandro 'Alex' Caffi
Ivan Franco Capelli
Piero Carini
Eugenio Castellotti
Alberto Colombo
Gianfranco 'Franco' Comotti
Andrea Lodovico de Adamich
Elio de Angelis
Andrea de Cesaris
Maria Teresa de Filippis
Giovanni de Riu
Piero Drogo
Piero Dusio
Corrado Fabi
Carlo Giovanni Facetti
Luigi Fagioli
Giuseppe 'Nino' Farina
Giancarlo Fisichella
Carlo 'Gimax' Franchi
Giorgio Francia
Giuseppe 'Beppe' Gabbiani
Giovanni Giuseppe Gilberto 'Nanni' Galli
Gerino Gerini
Piercarlo Ghinzani
Piercarlo Ghinzani
Bruno Giacomelli
Antonio Giovinazzi
Ignazio Giunti
Claudio Langes
Nicola Larini
Giovanni Lavaggi
Lamberto Leoni
Roberto Lippi
Vitantonio 'Tonio' Liuzzi
Maria Grazia 'Lella' Lombardi
Umberto Maglioli
Sergio Mantovani
Pierluigi Martini
Arturo Francesco 'Little Art' Merzario
Stefano Modena
Andrea Montermini
Gianni Morbidelli
Gino Munaron
Luigi Musso
Alessandro 'Sandro' Nannini
Emanuele Naspetti
Massimo Natili
Nello Pagani
Riccardo Paletti
Giorgio Pantano
Massimiliano 'Max' Papis
Riccardo Gabriele Patrese
Cesare Perdisa
Alessandro Pesenti-Rossi
Luigi Piotti
Renato Pirocchi
Emanuele Pirro
Ernesto Prinoth
Franco Rol
Giacomo 'Geki' Russo
Consalvo Sanesi
Ludovico Scarfiotti
Giorgio Scarlatti
Domenico Schiattarella
Piero Scotti
Teodoro 'Dorino' Serafini
Vincenzo Sospiri
Prince Gaetano Starrabba di Giardinelli
Siegfried Stohr
Luigi Taramazzo
Gabriele Tarquini
Piero Taruffi
Alfonso Thiele
Jarno Trulli
Nino Vaccarella
Luigi Villoresi
Alessandro 'Alex' Zanardi
Renzo Zorzi
Clemente took part in a couple of other races throughout the remainder of 1934, but without any noted success.

Biondetti did not take part in any grand prix or sports car races during 1935. In 1935, the costs of grand prix racing were increasing and many organizers were quickly becoming unwilling to give money to those who were considered to merely 'also ran'. Therefore, many privateer entrants were abandoning grand prix racing and turning to sports car and voiturette racing. These costs, in conjunction with the increasing threat of war, could have been good reason for Biondetti sitting 1935 out.

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Formula One World Drivers' Champions
1950 G. Farina
1951 J. Fangio
1952 A. Ascari
1953 A. Ascari
1954 J. Fangio
1955 J. Fangio
1956 J. Fangio
1957 J. Fangio
1958 M. Hawthorn
1959 S. Brabham
1960 S. Brabham
1961 P. Hill, Jr
1962 N. Hill
1963 J. Clark, Jr.
1964 J. Surtees
1965 J. Clark, Jr.
1966 S. Brabham
1967 D. Hulme
1968 N. Hill
1969 S. Stewart
1970 K. Rindt
1971 S. Stewart
1972 E. Fittipaldi
1973 S. Stewart
1974 E. Fittipaldi
1975 A. Lauda
1976 J. Hunt
1977 A. Lauda
1978 M. Andretti
1979 J. Scheckter
1980 A. Jones
1981 N. Piquet
1982 K. Rosberg
1983 N. Piquet
1984 A. Lauda
1985 A. Prost
1986 A. Prost
1987 N. Piquet
1988 A. Senna
1989 A. Prost
1990 A. Senna
1991 A. Senna
1992 N. Mansell
1993 A. Prost
1994 M. Schumacher
1995 M. Schumacher
1996 D. Hill
1997 J. Villeneuve
1998 M. Hakkinen
1999 M. Hakkinen
2000 M. Schumacher
2001 M. Schumacher
2002 M. Schumacher
2003 M. Schumacher
2004 M. Schumacher
2005 F. Alonso
2006 F. Alonso
2007 K. Raikkonen
2008 L. Hamilton
2009 J. Button
2010 S. Vettel
2011 S. Vettel
2012 S. Vettel
2013 S. Vettel
2014 L. Hamilton
2015 L. Hamilton
2016 N. Rosberg
2017 L. Hamilton
2018 L. Hamilton
2019 L. Hamilton

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