- For the Italian ice hockey goaltender, see Alex Caffi (ice hockey).
Caffi in 1991.
March 18, 1964 |
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Active years||1986 – 1991|
|Teams||Arrows/Footwork, Dallara and Osella|
|Entries||77 (56 starts)|
|First entry||1986 Italian Grand Prix|
|Last entry||1991 Australian Grand Prix|
Alessandro "Alex" Caffi (born March 18, 1964) is a former Formula One driver from Italy. He participated in 75 Grands Prix, debuting on September 7, 1986. In 2006 he raced in the inaugural season of the Grand Prix Masters formula for retired Formula One drivers.
Caffi was born in Rovato (province of Brescia), in Northern Italy. He spent three years in Italian Formula Three from 1984 to 1986, finishing runner-up in 1984 and 1985, then third in 1986. 1986 also saw him land a one-off drive with the Osella Formula One team, and Caffi scored a rare finish for them, coming home 11th.
Formula One career
Osella were impressed by his sensible approach, and signed him for a full season for 1987. The Alfa Romeo powered car was uncompetitive and unreliable, Caffi never finishing once, though he was classified 12th at the San Marino Grand Prix. Nevertheless, the quiet Italian drew good notices for his attitude and skill in such a poor car (notably qualifying 16th for the Monaco Grand Prix).
For 1988, he switched to the new Scuderia Italia team who were running a Dallara chassis, again drawing good notices and peaking with seventh place at the Portuguese Grand Prix. In 1989 the team expanded to two cars, with Andrea de Cesaris taking the other, and a switch to Pirelli tyres. Caffi impressed, finishing fourth at the Monaco Grand Prix, and running second at the United States Grand Prix before de Cesaris knocked him off. The second half of the season was less impressive as Pirelli struggled to find consistent race tyres, but was distinguished by Caffi starting third at the Hungarian Grand Prix (though the aforementioned race tyres saw him finish seventh).
Caffi was noted as a promising talent, and was tempted to Arrows for 1990. The team had been bought by the Japanese Footwork Corporation, and were planning a major championship assault in 1991 with a new Porsche V12 and Michele Alboreto, while 1990 was to be an interim year. Caffi injured himself in a pre-season cycling accident, missing the first race of the season, retiring from the second with exhaustion and failing to qualify for the third. His best finish of the year was fifth place at the attrition-filled Monaco Grand Prix, but Caffi generally gave solid, if unspectacular, displays elsewhere.
1991 was to be an unmitigated disaster, sadly. The Porsche V12 was grossly overweight and seriously underpowered, and Caffi failed to qualify for the first four races. He then broke his jaw in a road car accident following the Monaco Grand Prix, ironically after he had escaped injury in a serious crash during the race weekend. Footwork then drafted in Stefan Johansson to cover, and when Caffi returned to fitness, he found the team were trying to keep the Swede on. He managed to get back into his seat via a legal injunction, but then failed to qualify for the next six races. He finally got through to the Japanese Grand Prix, finishing 10th, but Aguri Suzuki had already been announced as a replacement for 1992. He again got through for the Australian Grand Prix, but had no drive for the following season.
He had no option but to sign for the new Andrea Moda team. However, registration problems with the FIA meant he managed no more than a few practice laps at the South African Grand Prix, and the team arrived late for the Mexican Grand Prix and were not allowed to run. After this, Caffi was replaced by Roberto Moreno, and his time in Formula One was over.
After F1 he raced on and off in sports and touring cars, mainly in the United States, where in 1998 he had an IRL test at Pikes Peak Raceway. After a brief career in Spanish and Italian Touring Cars, Caffi found his niche in sportscars, racing in GTs, FIA Sportscar, and ALMS. He returned to International motorsport in the IRC Rally Monte-Carlo 2011, driving a Skoda Fabia S2000. 25 years after his Formula 1 career Italian Alex Caffi won on the streets of the Principality during the Monaco Grand Prix Historique 2016. Caffi was one of the high-profile winners during the 10th running of the GP Historique when he guided the Kessel Racing Ensign N176 to victory in the Pre 1977 3-litre F1 race.
When he is not racing he is an instructor at the official Subaru Italia safety driving and racing school.
Complete Formula One results
Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results
|1999||Courage Compétition|| Andrea Montermini
|2004||Seikel Motorsport|| Gabrio Rosa
Peter van Merksteijn Sr.
|Porsche 911 GT3-RS||GT||148||DNF||DNF|
|2007||Spyker Squadron b.v.|| Andrea Belicchi
|Spyker C8 Spyder GT2-R||GT2||145||DNF||DNF|
|FIA European Formula Three Cup winner