Ricardo Rodríguez (racing driver)
14 February 1942|
Mexico City, Mexico
|Died||1 November 1962
Mexico City, Mexico
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Active years||1961 – 1962|
|Entries||6 (5 starts)|
|First entry||1961 Italian Grand Prix|
|Last entry||1962 Italian Grand Prix|
|24 Hours of Le Mans career|
|Participating years||1959, 1960, 1961 and 1962|
SpA Ferrari SEFAC
|Best finish||2nd (1960)|
Ricardo Valentín Rodríguez de la Vega (14 February 1942 in Mexico City, Mexico – 1 November 1962 in Mexico City, Mexico) was a Mexican racing driver who competed in the 1961 and 1962 Formula One seasons. His elder brother, Pedro, was also a noted racing driver who had much success in sports car racing and Formula One.
Rodríguez was born in Mexico City and was a child cycling champion who switched to motorcycles in domestic competition from the age of 14. He was the third son from the marriage of Pedro Natalio Rodríguez and Concepción "Conchita" (née de la Vega), he had four brothers and sisters, Pedro, Federico, Conchita and Alejandro.
He won several national motorcycle titles, before taking up saloon car racing in his own Fiat Topolino. In 1957 he made his international debut at Riverside, beating all comers in the under 1.5 litre class in a Porsche RS. He then won his class in a Porsche Spyder in the Nassau Tourist Trophy. He often raced for the North American Racing Team (NART) with his brother Pedro, although he would also enter cars under his father's name.
He was refused an entry at Le Mans in 1956, but went back in 1959 to race an OSCA in the 750cc. class. In the edition of 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1960 he partnered André Pilette to second place. At 18 years and 133 days of age, he was the youngest ever to stand on the podium at Le Mans.
Rodríguez was given a guest drive by Ferrari for the 1961 Italian Grand Prix, qualifying a surprise second and becoming the youngest driver in history to start from front row (19 years and 208 days), a record that wouldn't be beaten until the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix by Max Verstappen. In the race he exchanged the lead with Phil Hill and Richie Ginther many times, until a fuel pump failure ended his race. 1962 saw a full works drive with Ferrari, who used him sparingly considering his age and rough edges. Whenever used, Rodríguez shone, taking second at the Pau Grand Prix, fourth at the Belgian Grand Prix and sixth at the German Grand Prix in a tough year in Formula One for Ferrari. He also won the Targa Florio 1962 edition with Olivier Gendebien and Willy Mairesse in a Ferrari Dino 246 SP.
Rodríguez was considered a potential future champion already, but was left without a drive when Ferrari opted not to enter the non-Championship 1962 Mexican Grand Prix at the Magdalena Mixhuca Circuit, Mexico City. He signed to drive Rob Walker's Lotus 24, but died during the first day of practice, when the Lotus' rear right suspension failed at the fearsome Peraltada turn, and it hit the barriers killing him instantly. He was 20 years old and his death provoked national mourning in Mexico.
The Scuderia Rodríguez A.C. (a friends and family foundation) keeps his memory and that of his brother alive. It serves as register for Rodríguez memorabilia and cars, certifying them, and its Secretary General Carlos Jalife published their biography in 2006. An English translation was published in 2009 and won the Motor Press Guild Book of the Year.
Complete Formula One World Championship results
|1961||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari 156||Ferrari V6||MON||NED||BEL||FRA||GBR||GER||ITA
|1962||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari 156||Ferrari V6||NED
Formula One Non-Championship results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1962||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari 156||Ferrari V6||CAP||BRX||LOM||LAV||GLV||PAU
|Rob Walker Racing Team||Lotus 24||Climax V8||MEX
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ricardo Rodríguez (racing driver).|
- Jenkins, Richard. "The World Championship drivers - Where are they now?". OldRacingCars.com. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
- Jo Ramírez: Mi vida en Fórmula Uno, book, page 34
- Book: Los Hermanos Rodríguez. 2006, page 181
- Brothers Rodríguez book by Carlos Eduardo Jalife-Villalón, August 2007
Wolfgang Von Trips
|Formula One fatal accidents
November 1, 1962
20 years, 80 days
(1950 Indianapolis 500)
|Youngest Driver to start
a Formula One race
19 years, 208 days
(1961 Italian Grand Prix)
19 years, 182 days
(1980 Canadian GP)
21 years, 253 days
(1959 Monaco GP)
|Youngest Driver to score
Points in Formula One
20 years, 123 days
(1962 Belgian Grand Prix)
20 years, 67 days
(2000 Brazilian GP)