Antonio in an Alfa Romeo P2 in 1925
15 September 1888|
26 July 1925 (aged 36)|
Antonio Ascari (15 September 1888 – 26 July 1925) was an Italian Grand Prix motor racing champion.
Antonio Ascari was born near Mantua, but in the Veneto region of Italy, as the son of a corn dealer. He began racing cars at the top levels in Italy in 1919, using a modified 1914 Fiat. Along with Enzo Ferrari, he raced in the first Targa Florio held after the end of World War I in 1919, but did not finish after crashing into a deep ravine. His bad luck there continued in 1920 and 1921, but in 1922 he finished a strong fourth. Driving an Alfa Romeo for Vittorio Jano in April 1923, he narrowly lost the Targa Florio, finishing second to his Alfa Romeo teammate, Ugo Sivocci. However, the following month at the Cremona Circuit he drove to his first major Grand Prix victory. In 1924, he was again the winner at Cremona in the first race of the P2, then went on to Monza where he won the Italian Grand Prix.
1925 promised to be a great year for Antonio Ascari, his car dominating the competition at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps when he won the inaugural Belgian Grand Prix. He could even eat and drink slowly during a pit stop.
The 36-year-old Ascari was killed while leading the 1925 French Grand Prix in an Alfa Romeo P2 in the first race at the new Autodrome de Montlhéry south of Paris. He crashed at the fast left handed corner on the straight that headed back to the banked section of the track; Ascari died of his injuries on his way to hospital in Paris. He left behind a seven-year-old son, Alberto, who would become one of the greats of Formula One racing in the early 1950s and who would also die behind the wheel at age 36 and on the 26th of a different month, four days after a remarkable escape.
Antonio Ascari is interred in the Cimitero Monumentale in Milan.
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