Alessandro Nannini

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Alessandro Nannini
Born (1959-07-07) 7 July 1959 (age 55)
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality Italian
Active years 1986 - 1990
Teams Minardi, Benetton
Races 78 (76 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 1
Podiums 9
Career points 65
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 2
First race 1986 Brazilian Grand Prix
First win 1989 Japanese Grand Prix
Last win 1989 Japanese Grand Prix
Last race 1990 Spanish Grand Prix

Alessandro "Sandro" Nannini (born 7 July 1959[1]) is a former racing driver from Italy. He is the younger brother of rock-singer Gianna Nannini.

Biography[edit]

Nannini was born in Siena. He began racing in a Lancia Stratos at national rally events before switching to Formula Italia in 1981. From 1982 to 1984, he raced for Minardi in Formula 2, attracting some attention for his speed in the uncompetitive car. Though his best season saw him only 7th overall in 1983, he was signed by Lancia to drive their fast but fragile LC2 prototype in the World Sportscar Championship, setting fastest lap at the 1984 24 Hours of Le Mans where he finished 8th with Bob Wollek, and later that year winning the 1984 1000 km of Kyalami with Riccardo Patrese. For 1985, Giancarlo Minardi wanted Nannini to drive his new Formula One car but Nannini was controversially denied a superlicence, his former F2 team-mate Pierluigi Martini taking the drive instead. Nannini continued with Lancia instead, his best result being 3rd in the 1000km Monza.

For 1986, Nannini was finally granted a superlicence and signed up with Minardi's Grand Prix team, where he stayed until 1987. The car was uncompetitive and unreliable (Nannini was classified only four times from 30 starts with the team), largely due to its disappointing Motori Moderni V6 engine. However, Nannini's speed was noticed by many, especially after he largely outperformed experienced team-mate Andrea de Cesaris in 1986.

Nannini driving for Benetton at the 1988 Canadian Grand Prix.

Benetton signed Nannini for 1988 to drive alongside Thierry Boutsen. He generally performed very well, often out-pacing the highly regarded Belgian if not matching his consistency. He scored his first point in his second race for the team and took two 3rd places on his way to 10th overall in the title race.

With Boutsen leaving for Williams Nannini was promoted to team leader at Benetton alongside young Englishman Johnny Herbert and delivered a number of strong performances, especially at Suzuka. There he lay 3rd behind the two McLaren cars of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost when they collided, giving Nannini the lead. Prost retired whereas Senna rejoined after being push-started and pitted to replace his front wing, trailing Nannini in the race. Nannini was eventually passed by Senna who went on to cross the finish line first, however, the Brazilian was subsequently disqualified for missing the chicane following his collision with Prost, The disqualification handed Nannini what proved to be his only Formula 1 win. He rounded off the season with an impressive 2nd place in torrential rain at Adelaide, moving him to 6th overall in the standings.

For 1990, he was joined in the team by Nelson Piquet and reverted to being the number two driver. However, he impressed by largely matching the pace of the three-times World Champion. At Hockenheim he led the race by deciding against stopping for tyres, resisting Senna for 16 laps before fading grip dropped him to 2nd. He also challenged at the following Hungarian Grand Prix, hounding leader Boutsen until being controversially pushed off by the following Senna.

On 12 October 1990, the week after the 1990 Spanish Grand Prix, where he had finished 3rd, Nannini was involved in a helicopter crash over his Siena wineyard, suffering a severed right forearm.[2] The injury healed thanks to successful microsurgery but it ended his Formula One career. Nannini had been reconfirmed by Benetton for 1991 but Ferrari had a long-standing interest in the driver and were considering him as a replacement for the departing Nigel Mansell.

Once sufficiently recovered, Ferrari offered Nannini a test drive on its Fiorano Circuit in 1992. Nannini completed a total of 38-laps driving Jean Alesi's Ferrari F92A, which featured a specially modified steering wheel. In 1996, Benetton's Flavio Briatore also honoured the promise of a test drive, which took place at the Estoril Circuit[3] aboard a B196.

Despite only regaining partial use of his right hand, Nannini was able to carve out a successful career in touring car racing with Alfa Romeo in the 1990s - placing 4th overall in the 1994 DTM and 3rd in the 1996 ITC.

Nannini competed for Mercedes in the 1997 FIA GT Championship finishing 6th overall before hanging up his helmet. He now runs a chain of upmarket cafes bearing his name, with branches as far flung as Indonesia.[4]

2007 saw Sandro Nannini’s return to the track after a decade in retirement. He agreed to take part in the short-lived Grand Prix Masters Championship for Formula One veterans, alongside drivers including his former Benetton team mate Johnny Herbert.

He is a member of the Italy-USA Foundation.

Complete Formula One results[edit]

(key) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WDC Points
1986 Minardi Team Minardi M185B MM V6 BRA
Ret
ESP
DNS
SMR
Ret
MON
DNQ
BEL
Ret
CAN
Ret
DET
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
Ret
AUT
Ret
ITA
Ret
POR
NC
MEX
14
AUS
Ret
NC 0
1987 Minardi Team Minardi M187 MM V6 BRA
Ret
SMR
Ret
BEL
Ret
MON
Ret
DET
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
11
AUT
Ret
ITA
16
POR
11
ESP
Ret
MEX
Ret
JPN
Ret
AUS
Ret
NC 0
1988 Benetton Formula Ltd. Benetton B188 Cosworth V8 BRA
Ret
SMR
6
MON
Ret
MEX
7
CAN
Ret
DET
Ret
FRA
6
GBR
3
GER
18
HUN
Ret
BEL
DSQ
ITA
9
POR
Ret
ESP
3
JPN
5
AUS
Ret
10th 12
1989 Benetton Formula Ltd. Benetton B188 Cosworth V8 BRA
6
SMR
3
MON
8
MEX
4
USA
Ret
CAN
DSQ
6th 32
Benetton B189 Ford V8 FRA
Ret
GBR
3
GER
Ret
HUN
Ret
BEL
5
ITA
Ret
POR
4
ESP
Ret
JPN
1
AUS
2
1990 Benetton Formula Ltd. Benetton B189B Ford V8 USA
11
BRA
10
8th 21
Benetton B190 SMR
3
MON
Ret
CAN
Ret
MEX
4
FRA
16
GBR
Ret
GER
2
HUN
Ret
BEL
4
ITA
8
POR
6
ESP
3
JPN
AUS

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jenkins, Richard. "The World Championship drivers - Where are they now?". OldRacingCars.com. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  2. ^ "SPORTS PEOPLE: AUTO RACING; Chance for Comeback". New York Times.com. 1990-12-22. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  3. ^ "Sandro's Benetton test". Grandprix.com. 1996-11-25. Retrieved 2014-11-16. 
  4. ^ Caffe Nannini > Home

External links[edit]