Teams Elio de Angelis
Races: 109Elio de Angelis: A Maestro in the MakingPage: 1 2 next >>
Career Points: 122
While Formula One history would easily and quickly recall one of his teammates, it takes the mind a little longer to access memories of one smooth Italian racer by the name of Elio de Angelis. But while he would not have the time to prove his genius behind the wheel, he would be one of those annoying individuals that seemed absolutely adept at everything; if it touched his Roman heart that is.
The hallmark of a talented driver is a light touch on the steering-wheel. No such problem existed with de Angelis, who had the ability to surprise when he sat down at a piano. How fitting it truly was this handsome Italian and his penchant for jazz. Were it not for his day job, he likely could have found a career right alongside Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett.
Of course, Elio had enough means to do just about anything he wanted. Born in Rome, Italy in March of 1958, Elio would be born into a wealthy family, which meant he would have just about anything he wanted right at his fingertips. But de Angelis wasn't merely born into a wealthy family. He was also born with an enormous amount of natural talent, and just about anything he put his mind toward he would be good at it.
No doubt this ability came, in good portion from God, but also, through genetics. Elio's father, Giulio, not only had one of the most successful construction companies in all of Italy but was himself a prominent powerboat racer. This natural talent would be passed down to Elio who would become very talented at the piano, as well as, at tennis and skiing.
But while Elio had been born with a golden spoon in his mouth, he would have a level head on his shoulders. This would help him rise quickly through the ranks when he finally started racing karts at the age of 14. Competing against future Formula One drivers, like Eddie Cheever, de Angelis would show off his natural talent by finishing 2nd in the karting World Championship in 1975. One year later, he would go on to win the European karting championship.By 1977, Elio was proving a winner in Formula 3 and had caught the attention of Mr. Ferrari himself. Being Italian and being noticed by the Italian team seemed like a match made in heaven. Racing in Formula 2 in a Minardi-Ferrari, Elio would find himself offered a contract with Ferrari. At just 19 years of age, Elio would decide to sign with Ferrari.
Elio would be given the opportunity to test the Formula One car and would perform admirably. Those at Ferrari would be pleased with his speed and steady hand at the wheel. However, the presence of Gilles Villeneuve made it clear to de Angelis that his opportunity would likely not come with Ferrari. Therefore, he would depart from Ferrari, and instead, would head to England.
|Elio would end up driving with the ICI British F2 Team. He would end up taking part in the British Formula One Championship and would also go on to win the Monaco F3 race in 1978.|
|1986||BT55||BMW M12/13/1 1.5 L4t|
|1985||97T||Renault EF15 1.5 V6t|
|1984||95T||Renault EF4B 1.5 V6t|
|1983||94T||Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8, Renault-Gordini EF1 1.5 V6t|
|1983||93T||Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8, Renault-Gordini EF1 1.5 V6t|
|1983||92||Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8, Renault-Gordini EF1 1.5 V6t|
|1982||Lotus 91||Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8|
|1982||87B||Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8|
|1981||Lotus 81||Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8|
|1981||88B||Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8|
|1981||88||Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8|
|1981||87||Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8|
|1980||81B||Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8|
|1980||Lotus 81||Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8|
|1979||Shadow DN9||Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8|
Although never wanting for anything in his life, the family wealth made de Angelis entirely comfortable with the idea of having to fight to prove himself. Therefore, he wasn't adverse to the idea of taking a drive with a struggling team. And, in 1979 that is exactly what he would do.
Elio had tested for Ferrari at the age of just 19 years of age. His test would be impressive and there would be people encouraging him all the way saying it was possible Villeneuve would not be with the team. Elio would turn down this opportunity. Instead, while only in his early 20s, de Angelis would determine to take his shot at Formula One with the Shadow team.
By this point in time, Shadow was not a competitive team. Not only would the team be uncompetitive, but for de Angelis to get the ride he would need to, in essence, pay as he went. Actually, Elio would get the ride based on a promise he didn't necessarily have in the bank. He had promised the Shadow team a 17-race budget, and yet, he didn't even have half that much in sponsorship money. Never one to make a big deal about his financial situation, de Angelis would approach his father and would get the rest of the money he needed to get his opportunity with the Shadow team.Despite the fact he acted just like one of the guys and showed tremendous talent behind the wheel, many people considered him to be a guy with the means ‘playing' the role of a racer. The problem with that view was the simple fact that, like most everything else he put his mind to, he was pretty good at playing the part.
While the Shadow Racing Team was by no means one of the top teams in 1979, de Angelis would manage a 7th place result in his very first Formula One race. He would follow this result up with another 7th place result in the United States West Grand Prix. Then, in the final United States Grand Prix held at the end of the season, de Angelis would pull out the biggest surprise of all as he finished an incredible 4th place.
Many people wouldn't give the rich kid his due, but those at Lotus would recognize his talent and would offer him a chance to drive for the successful team for the 1980 Formula One season. This is when the true talent and genius of Elio became more than apparent to all.
It would all start with a 2nd place in the Brazilian Grand Prix, just the second race of the 1980 season. He would then follow this performance up with two 4th place finishes in the Italian and United States grand prix. Completing the season with 13 points, de Angelis would finish the World Championship 7th in the standings, higher than either Mario Andretti or Nigel Mansell.
Elio's second season with the Lotus team would see Nigel Mansell become his full-time teammate. The Brit's presence pushed de Angelis and the season would see his consistency come through in a big way for the team. While Mansell would score a 3rd place result in the Belgian Grand Prix, de Angelis would come away with no less than eight top-six finishes. As a result, de Angelis would again finish the season higher than his teammate in the standings.
More and more people were becoming convinced of his abilities as a race driver. They were beginning to look beyond his upbringing and see just how hard of worker he actually was while on the track. Still, a victory would go a long way to help convince people. The victory was coming.
One of the reproaches toward de Angelis and his style, as author Nigel Roebuck would aptly recall in one of his articles about de Angelis would be that, 'he relies too much on his talent.' Roebuck would then go on to draw a comparison to make his point saying, 'It is not by chance that the really great drivers of the last 20 or 30 years—Prost, Senna, Schumacher—worked unusually hard at their jobs, thinking constantly about how to make the car quicker, putting in the time.' Elio would be noted for his dislike for testing and would make no effort to hide his feelings. However, when tasked with the job getting into a car and driving it to its limit, if de Angelis was mentally ready, there was very few that were better at taking what they had and making it work.
In 1982, the Lotus Racing Team still had a lot of fight left in them but they had only been able to hang around the top five race in and race out. This would be the case almost throughout the '82 season as de Angelis would come away with no less than five top five results in the first 11 races of the season. In fact, if the Lotus 91 made it to the finish de Angelis recorded a top five result. But then came the Austrian Grand Prix.Page: 1 2 next >>