Play it again, Elio

De Angelis is remembered for his education, refinement and sympathy. As well as for that great passion of his called piano.

Translated by this website

Elio de Angelis is one of the greatest drivers that Italian motorsport has produced in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Elio was unable to demonstrate all his worth due to the tragic accident at the Paul Ricard circuit on May 14, 1986. An exceptional boy for his refinement, education and sympathy. As soon as he came across a piano there was no fatigue or long day on the track that prevented him from playing with surprising skill.

So many memories crowd my mind… Since I saw him on an F3 circuit and he struck me for speed and driving cleanliness, at the first meeting with his father Giulio to find an agreement for the debut with the then Team Everest in F2 at Misano with Ralt-Ferrari, at Magione’s masterpiece when in the same year, despite starting from the last row, he won the race and the Italian F3 title. Or the victory in Monte Carlo ’78 in front of Siegfried Stohr and a certain Alain Prost.

Following that title, he entered the F2 European Championship with Team Everest’s Chevron-Ferrari. He did so well that he was called in for a test on the Formula 1 Ferrari 312 T3 at Fiorano where he set exceptional times.

Elio’s contract included an option in favor of Ferrari, an option that the Commendatore would also have exercised after the Villeneuve accident in Japan, but it did not materialize due to differences between Elio’s father and the engineer Ferrari who, despite my mediation, were considered insuperable by father de Angelis.

The last time I met Elio was 7 am on Sunday 11 May 1986. We were at the port of Monte Carlo: he had got off his boat and was nervously pacing back and forth (he had only qualified 20th with the Brabham BMW). I too was wandering to dispose of the anger of Saturday’s failure to qualify with Nannini and De Cesaris, which vanished in the last minutes due to technical failures in both cars. Elio confessed to me that he was not at ease with the Brabham BT55 “sole” and the disappointing start of the season, as well as the bad qualifying in Monaco, were the result of this situation.

Suddenly he smiled and said to me: “Riccardo (Patrese) let me do the test he was supposed to do at Ricard. I’m going to do the testings to see if I find solutions and familiarity with the car”. Four days later, for a cruel fate, right at the “Paul Ricard” of Le Castellet, due to a technical failure during the testings, Elio unfortunately left us.

© 2018 L’Automobile • By Giancarlo Minardi • Published for entertainment and educational purposes, no copyright infringement is intended.

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