Pierluigi Martini


  • Lugo, Italy Place of Birth
  • 23 April 1961 Date of Birth
  • 1984 Italian Grand Prix F1 Debut
  • Minardi Current/Last Team

Pierluigi Martini’s Formula 1 career, which lasted over a decade, was largely with the underdog team Minardi. This limited his opportunities to showcase his skills, which were finally realised when he won the 1999 Le Mans 24 Hours in a BMW V12 LMR.

BornPierluigi Martini
23 April 1961
Lugo, Italy

After clinching the 1983 European Formula Three championship by overtaking John Nielsen late in the season, Martini joined Minardi in Formula 2 the next year. He also made a one-off F1 appearance for Toleman at the Italian Grand Prix after Ayrton Senna was suspended for a race, but he did not qualify.

Martini joined Minardi in their first F1 season in 1985 with a single-car entry. The combination of an undeveloped car and a rookie driver resulted in a season without points.

He then moved to Formula 3000, nearly winning the championship, but ended the season controversially at Jarama, where he was initially disqualified and then reinstated. The title slipped away due to Ivan Capelli finishing fourth.

Martini returned to F1 in 1988, scoring his and Minardi’s first point at Detroit. Despite this success, consistent points remained elusive.

In 1989, with the improved Minardi M189, he led a race for the first time at the 1989 Portuguese Grand Prix—a first for the team. However, an accident not related to racing forced him to miss the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix.

1990 saw Martini start on the front row alongside Gerhard Berger in Phoenix, but the season was plagued by reliability issues. The subsequent year was even more disappointing as a much-anticipated deal for Ferrari engines did not improve results.

In 1992, Martini switched to Scuderia Italia, continuing to use Ferrari engines and scoring a few points. He returned to Minardi in 1993 after leaving Scuderia Italia, achieving two fifth-place finishes in 1994 before being replaced in 1995.

Outside of F1, Martini first competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1984, returning in 1996 after his F1 career ended with Joest’s team. His best result came in 1999 with BMW, winning the race after several rivals encountered problems, including severe crashes and mechanical failures.

Martini later raced in American sports cars and participated in Italy’s Superstars touring car series in 2009, but he did not return to Le Mans.

Pierluigi Martini Formula One World Championship career

Active years1984–1985, 1988–1995
TeamsToleman, Minardi, Scuderia Italia
Entries124 (118 starts)
Career points18
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
First entry1984 Italian Grand Prix
Last entry1995 German Grand Prix

Sources: and


Driver Nationality Current/Last Team F1 Debut Status
Swedish Footwork Arrows 1980 Argentine Grand Prix Retired
Italian Minardi 1981 San Marino Grand Prix Died


Team Nationality Debut Season Status
Toleman British 1981 Historic
Minardi Italian 1985 Historic