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The Most Famous


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This page contains a list of the greatest Italian Racing Drivers. The pantheon dataset contains 888 Racing Drivers, 120 of which were born in Italy. This makes Italy the birth place of the 2nd most number of Racing Drivers.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Italian Racing Drivers of all time. This list of famous Italian Racing Drivers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Italian Racing Drivers.

Photo of Enzo Ferrari

1. Enzo Ferrari (1898 - 1988)

With an HPI of 74.50, Enzo Ferrari is the most famous Italian Racing Driver.  His biography has been translated into 64 different languages on wikipedia.

Enzo Anselmo Giuseppe Maria Ferrari (Italian: [ˈɛntso anˈsɛlmo ferˈraːri]; 20 February 1898 – 14 August 1988) was an Italian motor racing driver and entrepreneur, the founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team, and subsequently of the Ferrari automobile marque. He was widely known as "il Commendatore" or "il Drake". In his final years he was often referred to as "l'Ingegnere" ("the Engineer") or "il Grande Vecchio" ("the Grand Old Man").

Photo of Giuseppe Farina

2. Giuseppe Farina (1906 - 1966)

With an HPI of 68.42, Giuseppe Farina is the 2nd most famous Italian Racing Driver.  His biography has been translated into 52 different languages.

Emilio Giuseppe Farina, also known as Giuseppe Antonio "Nino" Farina, (Italian pronunciation: [dʒuˈzɛppe ˈniːno faˈriːna]; 30 October 1906 – 30 June 1966) was an Italian racing driver and first official Formula One World Champion. He gained the title in 1950. He was the Italian Champion in 1937, 1938 and 1939.

Photo of Alberto Ascari

3. Alberto Ascari (1918 - 1955)

With an HPI of 68.02, Alberto Ascari is the 3rd most famous Italian Racing Driver.  His biography has been translated into 54 different languages.

Alberto Ascari (13 July 1918 – 26 May 1955) was an Italian racing driver and a two time Formula One World Champion. He was a multitalented racer who competed in motorcycle racing before switching to cars. Ascari won consecutive world titles in 1952 and 1953 for Scuderia Ferrari. He was the team's first World Champion and the last Italian to date to win the title. This was sandwiched by an appearance in the 1952 Indianapolis 500. Ascari also won the Mille Miglia in 1954. Ascari was noted for the careful precision and finely-judged accuracy that made him one of the safest drivers in a most dangerous era until his death. Ascari remains along with Michael Schumacher Ferrari's only back-to-back World Champions, and he is also Ferrari's sole Italian champion. As the first driver to win multiple World Championship titles, he held the record for most World Championship titles in 1952–54; as a result he is one of 4 drivers to have held the record for most World Championship titles. Juan Manuel Fangio held the record in 1954-2002 (jointly with Ascari in 1954) and Michael Schumacher has held the record since 2002, although Schumacher now also shares that record with Lewis Hamilton. When Alberto was a young child, his father, Antonio, who was also a famous racing driver, died in an accident at the 1925 French Grand Prix. Alberto once admitted that he warned his children not to become extremely close to him because of the risk involved in his profession. Unfortunately, his warning proved true when he was killed during a test session for Scuderia Ferrari at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Ascari was notoriously superstitious and took great pains to avoid tempting fate. His unexplained fatal accident – at the same age as his father's, on the same day of the month and in eerily similar circumstances – remains one of Formula One racing's great tragic coincidences.

Photo of Giacomo Agostini

4. Giacomo Agostini (1942 - )

With an HPI of 64.09, Giacomo Agostini is the 4th most famous Italian Racing Driver.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Giacomo Agostini (Italian pronunciation: [ˈdʒaːkomo aɡoˈstiːni]; born 16 June 1942) is an Italian multi-time world champion Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. Nicknamed Ago, he amassed 122 Grand Prix wins and 15 World Championship titles. Of these, 68 wins and 8 titles came in the 500 cc class, the rest in the 350 cc class. For these achievements obtained over the course of a career spanning 17 years, the AMA described him as "...perhaps the greatest Grand Prix rider of all time". In 2000, Agostini was inducted into the MotoGP Hall of Fame as a MotoGP Legend, while in 2010, he was named an FIM Legend for his motorcycling achievements. He considers himself a "dubious" Roman Catholic.

Photo of Valentino Rossi

5. Valentino Rossi (1979 - )

With an HPI of 60.92, Valentino Rossi is the 5th most famous Italian Racing Driver.  His biography has been translated into 58 different languages.

Valentino Rossi (; Italian: [valenˈtiːno ˈrossi]; born 16 February 1979) is an Italian former professional motorcycle road racer and nine-time Grand Prix motorcycle racing World Champion. Nicknamed The Doctor, he is widely considered to be one of the greatest motorcycle racers of all time, with some labelling him as the greatest ever. He has nine Grand Prix World Championships to his name, seven of which were in the premier 500cc/MotoGP class. He holds the record of most premier class victories, with 89 victories to his name. He won premier class World Championships with both Honda and Yamaha. He is also the only road racer to have competed in 400 or more Grands Prix, and rode with the number 46 for his entire career. After graduating to the premier class in 2000, Rossi won the final 500cc World Championship (becoming the last satellite rider to win the top-class title to date) and the 8 Hours of Suzuka with Honda in 2001. He also won MotoGP World Championships with the factory Honda Team in 2002 and 2003 and continued his run of back-to-back championships by winning the 2004 and 2005 titles after leaving Honda to join Yamaha. He lost the 2006 title with a crash in the final round at Valencia. In 2007 he ultimately finished third overall, before regaining the title in 2008 and retaining it in 2009. After a 2010 season marred by a broken leg and no title defence, he left Yamaha to join Ducati, replacing Casey Stoner for the 2011 and 2012 seasons, and endured two losing seasons with the Italian marque.Rossi returned to Yamaha in 2013 and finished fourth in the standings followed by three successive runner-up positions in 2014, 2015 and 2016. His best chance of winning a tenth title came in 2015, where he led the standings for most of the season, finishing five points behind teammate Jorge Lorenzo, the eventual champion. 2017 was the final season he achieved over 200 points in the championship and he took his final race victory at the 2017 Dutch TT at the age of 38. After three winless seasons with the factory Yamaha team, he moved to Petronas SRT for 2021, retiring after only one season with the satellite Yamaha team and failing to achieve a podium for the first time in a career spanning 26 seasons in Grands Prix. The dominant force in MotoGP in the 2000s, all of Rossi's seven premier class titles came in this decade, including 77 race wins and 48 pole positions. In the ensuing 12 seasons, he managed 12 race wins and seven pole positions. During this period, Rossi was the 6th most successful rider in terms of total race victories.Rossi was inducted into the MotoGP Hall of Fame as an official Legend by the FIM at the awards ceremony after the conclusion of the 2021 season. His #46 bike number was retired at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix. Rossi owns the Racing Team VR46, which competes in both Moto2 and MotoGP as of 2022. He also plans to be involved in and administering his motorcycle racing team VR46. In addition to his team management role, Rossi competes full-time in GT World Challenge Europe, driving an Audi R8 LMS for Team WRT.

Photo of Lella Lombardi

6. Lella Lombardi (1941 - 1992)

With an HPI of 59.22, Lella Lombardi is the 6th most famous Italian Racing Driver.  Her biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Maria Grazia "Lella" Lombardi (26 March 1941 – 3 March 1992) was an Italian racing driver who participated in 17 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix. Lombardi is one of two female drivers to qualify for Formula One and is the only female who scored points in Formula One. Lombardi grew up in Italy and developed an interest in racing by driving a delivery van for her family. Starting in karting and moving to Formula Monza and Formula Three, Lombardi advanced through racing until she reached Formula One. She is the only woman to win points in Formula One, winning half a point in the Spanish Grand Prix. However, Lombardi had an eventful driving career, aside from Formula One. Lombardi was the first woman to qualify and compete in the Race of Champions in Brands Hatch and raced in sports cars. She won the 6 Hours of Pergusa and the 6 Hours of Vallelunga. Lombardi's story has impacted generations of racers. Her experience has shaped the involvement of women in racing and how people perceive females in the racing industry.

Photo of Riccardo Patrese

7. Riccardo Patrese (1954 - )

With an HPI of 59.13, Riccardo Patrese is the 7th most famous Italian Racing Driver.  His biography has been translated into 34 different languages.

Riccardo Gabriele Patrese (born 17 April 1954) is an Italian former racing driver, who raced in Formula One from 1977 to 1993. He became the first Formula One driver to achieve 200 Grand Prix starts when he appeared at the 1990 British Grand Prix, and then became the first to achieve 250 starts at the 1993 German Grand Prix. For 19 years, he held the record for the most Formula One Grand Prix starts, with 256 races from 257 entries. As of the end of the 2021 season he is the ninth-most experienced F1 driver in history. At the age of 38 he was runner-up to Nigel Mansell in the 1992 Formula One World Championship, and third in 1989 and 1991. He won six Formula One races, with a record gap of over six years between two of these – the 1983 South African Grand Prix and 1990 San Marino Grand Prix.Patrese also competed at the World Sportscar Championship for the Lancia factory team, finishing runner-up in 1982 and collecting eight wins.

Photo of Tazio Nuvolari

8. Tazio Nuvolari (1892 - 1953)

With an HPI of 58.95, Tazio Nuvolari is the 8th most famous Italian Racing Driver.  His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.

Tazio Giorgio Nuvolari (Italian pronunciation: [ˈtattsjo ˈdʒordʒo nuvoˈlaːri]; 16 November 1892 – 11 August 1953) was an Italian racing driver. He first raced motorcycles and then concentrated on sports cars and single-seaters. A resident of Mantua, he was known as "Il Mantovano Volante" (The Flying Mantuan) and nicknamed "Nivola". His victories—72 major races, 150 in all—included 24 Grands Prix, five Coppa Cianos, two Mille Miglias, two Targa Florios, two RAC Tourist Trophies, a Le Mans 24-hour race, and a European Championship in Grand Prix racing. Ferdinand Porsche called him "the greatest driver of the past, the present, and the future".

Photo of Maria Teresa de Filippis

9. Maria Teresa de Filippis (1926 - 2016)

With an HPI of 58.39, Maria Teresa de Filippis is the 9th most famous Italian Racing Driver.  Her biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Maria Teresa de Filippis (11 November 1926 – 8 January 2016) was an Italian racing driver, and the first woman to race in Formula One. She participated in five World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 18 May 1958, but scored no championship points. Though her Formula One racing career was brief, she won races in other series and is remembered as a pioneer in the sport.

Photo of Michele Alboreto

10. Michele Alboreto (1956 - 2001)

With an HPI of 58.38, Michele Alboreto is the 10th most famous Italian Racing Driver.  His biography has been translated into 34 different languages.

Michele Alboreto (Italian pronunciation: [miˈkɛːle alboˈrɛto]; 23 December 1956 – 25 April 2001) was an Italian racing driver. He was runner up to Alain Prost in the 1985 Formula One World Championship, as well as winning the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans and 2001 12 Hours of Sebring sports car races. Alboreto competed in Formula One from 1981 until 1994, racing for a number of teams, including five seasons (1984–88) for Ferrari. His career in motorsport began in 1976, racing a car he and a number of his friends had built in the Formula Monza series. The car, however, achieved very little success and two years later Alboreto moved up to Formula Three. Wins in the Italian Formula Three championship and a European Formula Three Championship crown in 1980 paved the way for his entrance into Formula One with the Tyrrell team. Two wins, the first in the final round of the 1982 season in Las Vegas, and the second a year later in Detroit, earned him a place with the Ferrari team. Alboreto took three wins for the Italian team and challenged Alain Prost for the 1985 Championship, eventually losing out by 20 points. The following three seasons were less successful, however, and at the end of the 1988 season, the Italian left Ferrari and re-signed with his former employers Tyrrell, where he stayed until joining Larrousse midway through 1989. Further seasons with Footwork, Scuderia Italia and Minardi followed during the tail end of his F1 career. In 1995, Alboreto moved on to sportscars and a year later the American IndyCar series. He took his final major victories, the 1997 Le Mans 24 Hours and 2001 Sebring 12 Hours, with German manufacturers Porsche and Audi respectively. In 2001, a month after his Sebring victory, he was killed testing an Audi R8 at the Lausitzring in Germany.

Pantheon has 120 people classified as racing drivers born between 1892 and 2002. Of these 120, 67 (55.83%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living racing drivers include Giacomo Agostini, Valentino Rossi, and Riccardo Patrese. The most famous deceased racing drivers include Enzo Ferrari, Giuseppe Farina, and Alberto Ascari. As of April 2022, 11 new racing drivers have been added to Pantheon including Alessandro Pesenti-Rossi, Fausto Gresini, and Pier Paolo Bianchi.

Living Racing Drivers

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Deceased Racing Drivers

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Newly Added Racing Drivers (2022)

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Which Racing Drivers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Racing Drivers since 1700.