One of Italy’s best-known paracyclists and race car drivers, Alex Zanardi has four Paralympic gold medals in his kitty, apart from his 12 World Championship gold medals. Following a 2001 race car accident, he lost both his legs. The former Formula One racer has won CART Championships, too.
A multitalented racing driver and twice Formula One World Champion, Alberto Ascari began his racing career with motorcycles, eventually shifting to automobiles, making his debut at Mille Miglia. Later, he started participating in other events, winning a total of thirteen races, including 1951 German Grand Prix and 1953 Swiss Grand Prix before passing away at the age of 36 while testing a car.
Giancarlo Fisichella, also known as Giano, has three Formula One World Championship wins in his kitty. The popular racing driver also captains the Nazionale Piloti football team. Throughout his career, he has raced for teams such as Renault, Force India, and Ferrari. He is related to a Sicilian noble family.
Giuseppe Farina, or Nino Farina, was not just a Formula One racer but also boasted of a doctorate degree in engineering. He became the first winner of the world driving championship as per the modern point system. He died in a car accident while on his way to watch a race.
Formula One racer Lorenzo Bandini had started his career as an apprentice mechanic at 15, after his father’s death, and gradually began racing motorcycles and then moved on to cars. He sustained deadly injuries at a horrific car crash during the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix, and died three days later.
Padua-born Riccardo Patrese had begun karting at age 9 and was equally skilled in swimming and skiing. In the 1990 British Grand Prix, he became the first Formula One driver to earn 200 Grand Prix starts. He has six Formula One race wins in his kitty and took to showjumping post-retirement.
Born into an affluent Roman family, Elio de Angelis joined the Formula One scene with the Shadow team. He was also a talented pianist. Unfortunately, he lost his life in a fiery accident at the Paul Ricard Circuit in 1986, sparking debates about race car safety standards.
Andrea de Cesaris, who had represented multiple Formula One teams, went down in history as the racer with the most Grand Prix starts without a single win. Post-retirement, he worked as a currency broker. He made headlines again when he dies in a motorcycle accident on a Rome highway.
Lella Lombardi made headlines by becoming the world’s only female Formula One driver to earn a top six finish in a World Championship race. A butcher’s daughter, she initially drove her family’s delivery van. An LGBT icon, she died of cancer, and was survived by her partner.
Italian professional racing driver, Vitantonio Liuzzi began his career with kart racing, eventually winning the 1993 Italian Karting Championship and 2001 Karting World Championship. Moving to cars with the 2001 German Formula Renault Championship, he finally became the last-ever Formula 3000 champion and later raced in Formula One for the Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Force India and HRT teams.
12 Luca Badoer
Luca Badoer is an Italian retired racing driver who has raced for popular teams like Ferrari, Forti, and Scuderia Italia. From 1998 to 2010, he also served as Ferrari's active test and reserve driver, apart from his racing duties. In 2009, Luca Badoer stood in for Ferrari's Felipe Massa at the Belgian Grand Prix and the European Grand Prix.
Giovanna Amati is an Italian former racing driver and one of the more recent female drivers to have participated as a racer in the Formula One World Championship. In 1992, she became the fifth female driver to participate in Formula One when she signed for the Brabham team. In 1993, she won the Women's European Championship at the Porsche SuperCup.
Gabriele Tarquini is an Italian professional racing driver who has taken part in 78 Formula One Grands Prix. In 2009, he became the oldest ever world champion to win an FIA series when he won the FIA World Touring Car Championship title aged 47 years and 266 days. In 2018, he won the FIA World Touring Car Cup aged 56.