Alberto Ascari: a Champion’s Tragic Fate

Among Formula 1’s greatest drivers, Alberto Ascari ocuupies an important place. Not just for his victories, but also for his tragic fate, that arrived in such a dramatic and unexpected way.
Alberto was born in Milan in 1918 and grew up in a family where motorsport was becoming a legacy. In fact, he was the son of famous driver Antonio Ascari. It didn’t take long for Alberto to show his natural talent and burning passion for speed and racing.
His career in Formula 1 began in 1950, while this sport had just started defining its own identity, when he joined Ferrari and soon became one of the most respected drivers in the championship.
He won his first World Championship in 1952 on a Ferrari, and replicated the same success the year after. All of that, obtaining 11 of his 13 F1 victories just in those two years.
After not participating in many races in 1954, the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix, which was the second race of the season, saw one of the most well-known events of Alberto’s career. As well as Formula 1’s.
The Italian driver participated on a Lancia D50, a car that promised excellent performaces. However, fate had something else in its mind.
During the race, Ascari lost control of his car at the chicane of the harbour, a well-known part of the circuit for its challenges. The car ended up in the water, in a time when security measures were far from today’s standards and a fatal crash was always right behind.
But, as a miracle, Alberto Ascari came out alive. With just some small injuries.
What followed after was a Greek tragedy-worthy turn of events. Just four days after the incident, Ascari decided to do some testing laps at the Monza circuit on a Ferrari 750, despite not being scheduled. In mysterious circumstances, Ascari lost control of his car again, this time crashing to his death. The coincidence that Alberto died when he was 36, just like his father Antonio, and in a similar crash, adds another bit of fatality to his story.
The tragic ending of Ascari’s life was not just the stop of a brilliant career, but also a moment to reflect on the dangers of motorsports. That, alongside the tragedy of Pierre Levegh during the 24 hours of Le Mans that same year, shook the entire racing environment, bringing more attention and innovations to what concerns the drivers’ safety.
This story, with its mix of talent, success and fate, is impressed in the fans’ memory. Alberto’s legacy is an amazing reminder of passion, courage, and vulnerability of these heroes of motorsport. People that keep inspiring and emotionate generations of fans.
RaceFever: you can’t rule speed.
Tommaso Fatichi


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