Elio de Angelis


  • Rome, Italy Place of Birth
  • 26 March 1958 Date of Birth
  • 1979 Argentine Grand Prix F1 Debut
  • Brabham Current/Last Team

Elio de Angelis made his F1 debut for Shadow in 1979 at the age of just 20, which was considered quite young at the time. Two years earlier, he had already proven his talent by winning the Italian Formula Three championship, narrowly beating Piercarlo Ghinzani in the final round and securing a victory in the prestigious Monaco F3 race.

BornElio de Angelis
26 March 1958
Rome, Italy
Died15 May 1986 (aged 28)
Marseille, France

Despite Shadow’s struggles with the DN9 car in 1978, de Angelis managed a seventh-place finish in his debut race. He persevered through a challenging season and achieved his first points finish with a fourth place at the season finale in Watkins Glen.

His performance caught the eye of Colin Chapman, who signed him to Lotus in 1980. Although his first race for Lotus ended in suspension failure, de Angelis impressed with a second-place finish at Interlagos. This marked the beginning of a long and successful relationship between de Angelis and the team.

In 1980, de Angelis had a notable return to form later in the season with a points finish in Austria, following a heavy crash at Long Beach that injured his foot. He ended the year with another fourth place at Watkins Glen, showing promise for the future. The following year, he achieved consistent points finishes despite challenges, including the introduction and subsequent banning of the 88B chassis and a mid-season switch from Michelin to Goodyear tyres. De Angelis finished in the top six eight times in 1981.

In 1982, the team faced tough competition from turbo-powered rivals. However, their reliability paid off at the Osterreichring, where de Angelis claimed his first win, narrowly beating Keke Rosberg by five-hundredths of a second. This victory was also Lotus’s first in four years and their final win under Chapman’s leadership, as Chapman passed away from a heart attack in December.

The 1983 season was challenging as the team adapted to the new Renault turbo engine and Pirelli tyres, but de Angelis’s pole position at Brands Hatch indicated progress. The 1984 season saw significant improvements, with de Angelis consistently scoring points and outperforming teammate Nigel Mansell. He was second in the championship standings at one point and ended the year third behind the dominant McLaren drivers.

In 1985, de Angelis won the third round at Imola after Alain Prost was disqualified for being underweight, briefly leading the drivers’ championship. However, he was overshadowed by new teammate Ayrton Senna, who secured two wins and finished ahead of de Angelis in the points standings.

Feeling sidelined, de Angelis moved to Brabham-BMW for 1986, but the switch proved disastrous. The low-profile BT55 was both uncompetitive and unreliable. De Angelis managed only a single eighth-place finish before tragedy struck during testing at Paul Ricard. A rear wing failure sent his car off the track, where it cleared a barrier, landed upside down, and caught fire. Trapped in the blaze for several minutes, de Angelis died from his injuries, deeply saddening and outraging the F1 community, who mourned the loss of a beloved driver.

Elio de Angelis Formula One World Championship career

Active years1979–1986
TeamsShadow, Lotus, Brabham
Entries110 (108 starts)
Career points122
Pole positions3
Fastest laps0
First entry1979 Argentine Grand Prix
First win1982 Austrian Grand Prix
Last win1985 San Marino Grand Prix
Last entry1986 Monaco Grand Prix

Sources: Wikipedia.com


Driver Nationality Current/Last Team F1 Debut Status
American Ferrari 1968 United States Grand Prix F1 Legend
British McLaren 1980 Austrian Grand Prix F1 Legend
Brazilian Williams 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix Died, F1 Legend
Italian Benetton 1977 Monaco Grand Prix Retired


Team Nationality Debut Season Status
Shadow British 1973 Historic
Team Lotus British 1958 Historic
Brabham British 1962 Historic