Arturo Merzario

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Arturo Merzario
Merzario1.jpg
Arturo Merzario in 1978.
Born (1943-03-11) 11 March 1943 (age 72)
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality Italy Italian
Active years 1972-1979
Teams Ferrari, Williams, Fittipaldi, March, Wolf, Shadow, Merzario
Races 85 (57 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 11
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1972 British Grand Prix
Last race 1979 United States Grand Prix

Arturo Francesco "Little Art" Merzario (born 11 March 1943 in Civenna, Como) (real name Arturio - error on name registration - sometimes used on his helmet) is a racing driver from Italy. He participated in 85 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 15 July 1972. He scored 11 championship points.

Racing career[edit]

Formula One[edit]

Merzario began his career with works Fiat Abarths in GT racing and European mountain-climb events.[1] In 1969 he won the Mugello Grand Prix in a 2-litre Abarth ahead of a field which included Nino Vaccarella and Andrea de Adamich. This brought him a drive with the Ferrari sportscar team for 1970.[1]

Merzario made his Formula One debut in 1972, finishing in sixth place in the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch.[2] He also participated in sports car racing, winning the Spa 1000 km, the Targa Florio and the Rand 9 Hour races and was European two-litre Champion for Abarth. After a difficult year with Ferrari in 1973, he moved to Williams and finished third in a non-Championship race in Brazil, but the Championship seasons of 1974 and 1975 proved largely unsuccessful. However, he finished fourth in his home Grand Prix at Monza in 1974. Merzario quit during the 1975 season to return to sports cars with Alfa Romeo, winning four races plus the Targa Florio again, although he returned briefly with Copersucar at Monza finishing eleventh.[1][2]

Merzario returned to Formula One in 1976, initially with the works March team which was sponsored by Ovoro. After a run of disappointing results and disgruntled with his situation,[1] he moved to Wolf, replacing Jacky Ickx but again there were no decent results.

When Merzario could no longer find a drive with established teams, he set up his own Merzario team in 1977 which struggled in Formula One for three years, initially with March 761B, cars before building his own chassis, from 1978[1] and later moving down to Formula Two. In three seasons the team was only classified on one occasion — at the 1977 Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder when Merzario was officially placed fourteenth. He had a one-off drive with Shadow in the 1977 Austrian Grand Prix at the Osterreichring but a good drive led to retirement again and was overshadowed by the first Formula One career win of teammate Alan Jones.[1] Merzario continued with his own Chassis for two seasons but results were very poor with the team not qualifying on the majority of occasions and retirng from the race when it did start.[2] The Merzario M1-BMW fared no better in Formula Two in 1980[1] but Merzario continued to race sports cars with some success after his works Formula One career finished.[1]

Merzario is perhaps most renowned for being one of the drivers, along with Guy Edwards, Brett Lunger and Harald Ertl who saved Niki Lauda from his burning car during the 1976 German Grand Prix. In a recent interview with BBC Radio 5 linked to the release of Rush, Niki Lauda stated that "..there was a guy called Arturo Merzario who jumped into the fire and alone pulled me out of the wreckage so I survived... so he really saved my life there because a couple of seconds more I would have never made it."[citation needed]

In his time in Formula One in the 1970s he was often photographed wearing a cowboy hat with sponsorship patches from Marlboro.

Merzario was still active in sports car racing well into his sixties, driving mostly in an Italian prototype series.

Sports cars and other competitions[edit]

Merzario began his career with Abarth in GT racing and mountain climbs.[1] and also won the Sardinia Rally in 1963 in an Alfa Romeo Giulietta. He had several class wins throughout the 1960s and also was victorious in the Mugello Grand Prix in 1969, leading to a Ferrari sports car drive. In 1970 he was third in the 24 hours of Daytona and fourth in the 1000 Kilometres of Monza using a Ferrari 512S. Further wins followed in 1971 at Imola and Vallelunga for Ferrari and Abarth respectively.

In 1972, Mezario won the 1000 Kilometres of Spa (with Brian Redman) in a Ferrari 312PB, won the Targa Florio alongside Sandro Munari and made his Formula One World Championship debut that year. In 1973, Merzario took second places in the 1000 Kilometres of Nurburgring and at Le Mans. Merzario also won the Targa Florio in 1975 with an Alfa Romeo 33 and his career continued in sports cars and GT racing into the 1990s winning the 1985 Italian Prototype Championship and later racing successfully with a Centenari M1.

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 WDC Points
1972 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 312B2 Ferrari Flat-12 ARG RSA ESP MON BEL FRA GBR
6
GER
12
AUT ITA CAN USA 20th 1
1973 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 312B2 Ferrari Flat-12 ARG
9
BRA
4
RSA
4
ESP BEL 12th 6
Ferrari 312B3 MON
Ret
SWE FRA
7
GBR NED GER AUT
7
ITA
Ret
CAN
15
USA
16
1974 Frank Williams Racing Cars Iso-Marlboro FW Cosworth V8 ARG
Ret
BRA
Ret
RSA
6
ESP
Ret
BEL
Ret
MON
Ret
SWE
DNS
NED
Ret
FRA
9
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
ITA
4
CAN
Ret
USA
Ret
17th 4
1975 Frank Williams Racing Cars Williams FW03 Cosworth V8 ARG
NC
BRA
Ret
RSA
Ret
MON
DNQ
BEL
Ret
SWE NED FRA GBR GER AUT NC 0
Williams FW04 ESP
Ret
Fittpaldi-Copersucar Fittipaldi FD03 ITA
11
USA
1976 Ovoro March March 761 Cosworth V8 BRA RSA USW
DNQ
ESP
Ret
BEL
Ret
MON
DNQ
SWE
14
FRA
9
GBR
Ret
NC 0
Walter Wolf Racing Williams FW05 GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
NED
Ret
ITA
DNS
CAN
Ret
USA
Ret
JPN
Ret
1977 Team Merzario March 761B Cosworth V8 ARG BRA RSA USW ESP
Ret
MON
DNQ
BEL
14
SWE FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
DNQ
NED
DNQ
ITA USA CAN JPN NC 0
Shadow Racing Shadow DN8 AUT
Ret
1978 Team Merzario Merzario A1 Cosworth V8 ARG
Ret
BRA
DNQ
RSA
Ret
USW
Ret
MON
DNPQ
BEL
DNPQ
ESP
DNQ
SWE
NC
FRA
DNQ
GBR
Ret
GER
DNQ
AUT
DNQ
NED
Ret
ITA
Ret
USA
Ret
CAN
DNQ
NC 0
1979 Team Merzario Merzario A1B Cosworth V8 ARG
Ret
BRA
DNQ
RSA
DNQ
USW
Ret
NC 0
Merzario A2 ESP
DNQ
BEL
DNQ
MON FRA
DNQ
Merzario A4 GBR
DNQ
GER
DNQ
AUT
DNQ
NED
DNQ
ITA
DNQ
CAN
DNQ
USA
DNQ

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. p. 252. ISBN 0851127029. 
  2. ^ a b c Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. p. 253. ISBN 0851127029. 

External links[edit]