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Name : Alberto Ascari
Date of Birth : July 13 1918
Birth Place : Milan, Italy
Nationality : Italian
Date of death : May 26 1955

Alberto Ascari was born on July 13, 1918 in Milan , Italy . He was born into a motor racing family. He is still regarded today as one of the greatest if not the greatest race car driver that ever lived. Alberto's father Antonio Ascari was killed on the 26th of July when he crashed in the French Grand Prix at Montlhery.

Before World War II, Alberto started his career in racing on motorcycles when he was a works rider with the Bianchi team. Alberto was also the first of two drivers to race a Ferrari-made car. Ascari drove a 1 1/2 litre, 8 cylinder sports car in the 1940 Mille Miglia. He also finished in 9th place in the 1940 Tripoli Grand Prix in a Maserati 6CM and after this race, Alberto did not drive again till after World War II in 1947.

During the war, Alberto Ascari built up a road transportation business with his partner Luigi Villoresi and hauled fuel to Mussolini's armies in North Africa . In September 1947,

Ascari won his next auto race driving a Maserati at Modena . Through 1948, Alberto raced under the Scuderia Ambrosiana banner in a F1 Maserati 4CLT winning the San Remo Grand Prix and finishing runner-up in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

In 1949 he joined the Ferrari works team and won the Swiss Grand Prix at the Bremgarten ciruit driving a Ferrari 1 1/2 litre Tipo 125. Ascari also lead the Italian Grand Prix from start to finish. In 1950, Ascari drove the Ferrari 4 1/2 litre 375 and won in the non-title Penya Rhin Grand Prix at the Barcelona Pedralbes circuit which was the last race of 1950.

By the end of the 1951 season, the sport's governing body decided that the 1952 and 1953 World Championship seasons would be held under 2-litre F2 regulations. So in 1952, Alberto Ascari driving his Ferrari 500, won the European Grand Prix at Spa. He also won the French, British, German and Italian Grand Prix's and took his first Formula One World Championship title. In 1953, he won the Dutch, Belgian, British, and Swiss races and became the World Champion for two years in a row.

Ascari drove for Lancia in 1954 in their new V8 D50 under the new 2 1/2 litre F1 regulation. The car never did perform well all season and Ascari was released from his contract by Gianni Lancia under good terms so as Alberto could drive a Ferrari 625 in the

Italian Grand Prix at Monza where Ascari was beating the Mercedes driven by Juan Manuel Fangio until Alberto's engine blew up. At the last race of the 1954 season, Ascari debuted the new Lancia D50 at Barcelona and qualified the car on pole but was to later retire from the race with clutch problems.

For the 1955 season, Ascari drove the Lancia to victories in the non-title race at Turin and Naples Grands Prix. He crashed at the Monaco Grand Prix while almost taking over the lead and ended up in the harbour of Monte Carlo . His car sank, but Alberto only suffered a broken nose in the horrific crash.

One week after driving in the Monaco Grand Prix, Alberto Ascari went to Monza on the Thursday. He was given permission by Lancia once more to drive a Ferrari in the up and coming race on the Sunday in the 1,000 km Supercortemaggiore race at the Milan circuit. Ascari did not intend to practice mid-week and so he had to borrow the helmet of driver Castellotti and went out for a few laps around the track.

On the third lap, just shy of his 37th birthday, Alberto Ascari crashed at the fast Vialone right-hander, was thrown out on to the track and suffered fatal injuries. Juan Manuel Fangio said after hearing of Ascari's death "I HAVE LOST MY GREATEST OPPONENT". Like his father Antonio, Alberto Ascari also died on the 26th of the month driving a sports car as well. A bizarre coincidence indeed.

The world had lost another great driver of it's time and this 2-time World Champion driver will live in the history books of Formula One racing.


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