Luigi Musso

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Luigi Musso
Born (1924-07-28)28 July 1924
Died 6 July 1958(1958-07-06) (aged 33)
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality Italy Italian
Active years 19531958
Teams Ferrari, Maserati
Races 25 (24 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 1
Podiums 7
Career points 44
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 1
First race 1953 Italian Grand Prix
First win 1956 Argentine Grand Prix
Last win 1956 Argentine Grand Prix
Last race 1958 French Grand Prix

Luigi Musso (28 July 1924, Rome – 6 July 1958, Reims-Gueux) was an Italian racing driver. In 1955 he joined the Ferrari team, entering into a fierce rivalry with Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins, which boosted the performance of the team, but also encouraged greater risk-taking. According to Musso's fiancée, he was deep in debt by the time of the lucrative 1958 French Grand Prix, where he was killed, somersaulting into a ditch while chasing Hawthorn.

Racing career[edit]

Musso began his racing career driving sports cars before debuting on the Formula One circuit on 17 January 1954, driving a Maserati. In 1954 he won the Coppa Acerbo, a non-championship Formula One race. At Zandvoort, in the 1955 Dutch Grand Prix, Musso placed third in a Maserati.[1] At the end of the 1955 Formula 1 season he switched to Ferrari. He shared victory in the 1956 Argentine Grand Prix with Juan Manuel Fangio, however his season was cut short after a crash in a sports car race at Nürburgring.

Musso triumphed in a Ferrari 3500 in the City of Buenos Aires sports car race on 20 January 1957. He was the third driver of the car. Stirling Moss finished second in a light powered Maserati 3000. Moss made a last-ditch effort for his team at the end but came up short. A second Ferrari 3500, driven by Eugenio Castellotti, came in third. The Ferrari team gained eight points toward the 1957 World Championship in the event.[2] The same year he won the Grand Prix de la Marne. Although the Marne was also not part of the Drivers' Championship, Musso nevertheless finished third in the overall standings for the season.

Death[edit]

Musso was fatally injured in an accident during the 1958 French Grand Prix at Reims, France when his Ferrari hurtled off the course on the 10th lap of the 50 lap race.[3] Running wide at the tricky Gueux Curve while chasing the leader, fellow Ferrari driver Mike Hawthorn, Musso's Ferrari struck a ditch and somersaulted.[4] Musso was airlifted to hospital with critical head injuries and died later that day. Hawthorn went on to win the race.

Rivalry with Hawthorn and Collins[edit]

Many years after Musso's death, Fiamma Breschi, Musso's girlfriend at the time of his death, revealed the nature of Musso's rivalry with fellow team Ferrari drivers Mike Hawthorn and Collins in a television documentary, The Secret Life of Enzo Ferrari. Breschi recalled that the antagonism between the Musso and the two English drivers, Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins, encouraged all three to take more risks:

"The Englishmen (Hawthorn and Collins) had an agreement," she says. "Whichever of them won, they would share the winnings equally. It was the two of them against Luigi, who was not part of the agreement. Strength comes in numbers, and they were united against him. This antagonism was actually favourable rather than damaging to Ferrari. The faster the drivers went, the more likely it was that a Ferrari would win." Breschi related that at the time of his death, Musso was in debt, and thus winning the French Grand Prix (traditionally the largest monetary prize of the season) was all-important to him.

Within a year, Collins and Hawthorn were also dead, and Breschi could not suppress a feeling of release. "I had hated them both," she said, "first because I was aware of certain facts that were not right, and also because when I came out of the hospital and went back to the hotel, I found them in the square outside the hotel, laughing and playing a game of football with an empty beer-can. So when they died, too, it was liberating for me. Otherwise I would have had unpleasant feelings towards them for ever. This way I could find a sense of peace."[5]

Racing achievements[edit]

During his F1 career, Luigi Musso won one World Championship Grand Prix, achieved 7 podiums, and scored a total of 44 championship points.

Racing record[edit]

Complete World Drivers Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Yr Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 WDC Points
1953 Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati A6GCM Maserati Straight-6 ARG
500
NED
BEL
FRA
GBR
GER
SUI
ITA
7 #
NC 0
1954 Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati
A6GCM/250F
Maserati Straight-6 ARG
DNS
500 BEL FRA GBR GER SUI 8th 6
Maserati 250F ITA
Ret
ESP
2
1955 Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati Straight-6 ARG
7 ‡
MON
Ret
500 BEL
7
NED
3
GBR
5
ITA
Ret
10th 6
1956 Scuderia Ferrari Lancia D50 Ferrari V8 ARG
1 *
MON
Ret
500 BEL FRA GBR GER
Ret
ITA
Ret
11th 4
1957 Scuderia Ferrari Lancia D50A Ferrari V8 ARG
Ret
MON 500 3rd 16
Ferrari 801 FRA
2
GBR
2
GER
4
PES
Ret
ITA
8
1958 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari Dino 246 Ferrari V6 ARG
2
MON
2
NED
7
500 BEL
Ret
FRA
GBR GER POR ITA MOR 8th 12
# Indicates shared drive with Sergio Mantovani.
Indicates shared drive with Sergio Mantovani and Harry Schell.
* Indicates shared drive with Juan Manuel Fangio.
Indicates crashed, later died of injuries.

Non-Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (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 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
1954 Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati Straight-6 SYR PAU LAV BOR INT BAR CUR ROM
Ret
FRO COR BRC CRY ROU CAE AUG COR OUL RED PES
1
SAC JOE CAD BER GOO DAI
1955 Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati Straight-6 NZL BUE VAL
Ret
PAU
Ret
GLO BOR
2
INT NAP
2
ALB CUR COR LON DAR RED
DNA
DAT
DNS
OUT
8
AVO SYR'
2
1956 Scuderia Ferrari Lancia D50 Lancia V8 BUE
Ret
GLV SYR
2
AIN INT NAP
Ret
100 VNW CAE SUS BRH
1957 Scuderia Ferrari Lancia D50 Lancia V8 BUE
3
SYR
2
PAU GLV RMS
1
CAE INT
Ferrari Dino 246 Ferrari V6 NAP
3
MOD
2
MOR
1958 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari Dino 246 Ferrari V6 BUE GLV SYR
1
AIN INT CAE

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fangio Captures Dutch Grand Prix, Long Beach Independent, June 20, 1955, Page 15.
  2. ^ Ferraris Nip Maserati, Lima, Ohio News, January 21, 1957, Page 19.
  3. ^ Luigi Musso Is Killed In Race Crash, Fresno Bee Republican, July 7, 1958, Page19
  4. ^ Hawthorn in Race Victory, Los Angeles Times, July 7, 1958, Page C4
  5. ^ Williams, Richard, Richard Williams Talks to Fiamma Breschi, the Woman Behind Enzo Ferrari, The Guardian, 22 January 2004
Preceded by
Pat O'Connor
Formula One fatal accidents
6 July 1958
Succeeded by
Peter Collins