“Motorsport must not remain the only thing in my life”

Translated by this website

Elio de Angelis has achieved a great performance in Formula 1: from a driver who pays to have a car available, he has become a paid driver. It is not a small thing, in a world where you make your way first with money, then with skill. That’s a lot, for a driver accused of being a “daddy’s son”, with an easy life, with the road paved by the parent’s money. Whose parent is Giulio de Angelis, a large Roman builder, world champion of powerboating. Now father de Angelis has left the races, and as soon as he can he follows Elio on the tracks all over the world.

Elio, can you take stock of your relationship with Formula 1? Sports and economic relationship, we mean.

Let’s start by pointing out that Lotus this year has created many problems for me. At some point there was a break between me and Colin Chapman. He wanted to try the adventure of a new car, then outlawed, and in practice lost precious time. However, I am still young. I am sorry for certain empty jokes from 1981, but I am certainly not resigned not to break through. As for my economic relationship, if it is true that in 1979 my father helped me have the money I needed to finally access Formula 1, with Shadow, it is also true that already in 1980 I had a good engagement, tripled this year. And so now I really feel like a professional driver.

Regazzoni said that the young people of Formula 1 immediately behave like old drivers, without joy, immediately too worried about their careers. Is it true?

Maybe some of us behave like this, but I certainly don’t feel too distressed, too worried. It must be taken into account that those who spoke like this, that is, dear Clay, was an old man who knew how to have fun like a kid. Of course, in our environment there is a lot of tension, and there is also a lot of coldness.

Honestly, do you have fear?

Honestly, yes. But in the right dose, as you must have by driving cars that can become deadly weapons. I also think about others’ fear, not just my own. To that of my opponents, and also of the people who are dear to me. Last year, when Depailler died, my father asked me to leave the races. I was going to say yes, when he, how to say? He withdrew his request: he understood that this is my life, that this is my job.

Tell us a little bit about your career.

I’m from 1958, I started racing karts when I was just fourteen years old. In 1975 I was already world champion. I then moved on to Formula 3, Formula 2, Formula 1. A road all uphill, or downhill, you do. My father’s help was decisive in the beginning, but if you don’t have authentic skills you don’t emerge in Formula 1.

At one point there was talk of Elio de Angelis at Ferrari…

There was a contract, three years ago, and a short period of collaboration began. I even went so far as to test the T-3 on the Fiorano track. But then I was told that to race in Formula 1 I still had to wait, and I didn’t find the offer to drive a Ferrari-Chevron in Formula 2 satisfactory. So everything ended and Ferrari remained only in my dreams.

What advice do you give to a young person?

First of all, not to think of motor racing as the only choice of life. If you are not successful, the disappointment is very serious. Then, if you really decide to be a car racer, the first expense must not be for a car, but for a television set with a recorder. You see and review all the races, you learn the secrets of the drivers, especially you decide if, in the face of certain risks, you are able to move forward. However, although I devoted myself to motoring and even dreaming of becoming world champion, I did not neglect my studies, and I attend the faculty of architecture. Motor racing is now everything in my life, but it must not remain the only thing in my life.

Last winter you took part in a series of races with other champions, all engaged in sports that are not yours, and you went bad. Does this mean you’re not a real athlete?

This means that those races should be taken as curiosity, and that’s it. The preparation of a Formula 1 driver is a special thing, for which the practice of other sports is not necessary.

My Life

I was born in Rome on March 26, 1958.

My father, Giulio, was one of the greatest motorboats of all time: he won Italian, European and world titles. Again in 1979, starting off in offshore powerboat racing, he won the Viareggio-Bastia-Viareggio.

I have two brothers, Andrea and Roberto, who race karts.

I also started with karts and in 1975 I became world champion of this specialty.

In 1977, when I moved to Formula 3, I won the Grand Prix Lottery in Monza. In that same year I made my debut in Formula 2.

Still in Formula 3, I won in Monte Carlo in 1978. Meanwhile, I continued with Formula 2 obtaining, as best result, a third place on the Misano circuit.

I made my formula 1 debut in the 1979 Argentine Grand Prix, with Shadow.  Best result that season was fourth place at Watkins Glen.

In 1980, as Lotus’ second driver, I achieved the best finish in the Brazilian Grand Prix (second place) and finished the season in seventh place in the final championship standings.

This year, as the first Lotus driver, I collected – until the Italian Grand Prix, held in Monza on September 13th – a fourth place (in Monza in fact), four fifth places (Brazil, Belgium, Spain, Holland) and two sixth places (Argentina, France).

I am engaged, but for the moment there is still no talk of marriage. My main hobby is music: I play the piano and also compose some musical motifs.

Giulio & Elio de Angelis

I helped him, but now Elio makes his way alone

Father de Angelis follows his son Elio in almost all the Grands Prix. He is the most titled Italian motorboat rider of all time. “Born” to sport on Lake Bracciano, he won on lakes and seas all over the world. In 1957 he won the European title in the 700 outboard sport class. From 1961 to 1963 he dominated 1,300 racers in Italy. In 1965 he took his first world title (500), with other titles in 1965, 1969 and 1970. His world speed record for the 2,500 inboard class: more than 200 per hour.

Giulio de Angelis, a judgment on Elio de Angelis: as a sportsman on a sportsman.

Given that I would like my son to finish his sporting story with motorboats, where he learned to ride as a child, I must say that I think he is really a very good car driver. I helped him in the beginning, but now he makes his way alone.

Will the brothers imitate him?

I hope not. They are also giving up on karts. A driver in the family is enough and advances.

What does it take to be a racing driver?

Courage, but also knowledge of engines. Elio is a good tester, let’s not forget that.

© 1981 Il Giornalino • By Gian Paolo Ormezzano • Published for entertainment and educational purposes, no copyright infringement is intended

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