Women Power

Maria Teresa de Filippis

Maria Teresa de Filippis

Maria Teresa de Filippis (11 November 1926 – 8 January 2016) was an Italian hustling driver, and the principal lady to race in Formula One. She took part in five World Championship Grands Prix, appearing on 18 May 1958, yet scored no title focuses. Despite the fact that her Formula One dashing profession was brief, she won races in different arrangement and is recognized as a pioneer in the game.

De Filippis was conceived on 11 November 1926 in Naples, Italy, the most youthful of five offspring of an Italian Count and a Spanish mother. Her dad claimed the sixteenth century Palazzo Marigliano in Naples and the Palazzo Bianco (White Palace) close Caserta. She was a sharp pony rider and tennis player in her high school years.

At 22 years old, de Filippis started her dashing profession. Two of her siblings revealed to her that she would not have the capacity to go quick, driving her and making a wager that she would be moderate. She won her first race, driving a Fiat 500 on a 10 km drive among Salerno and Cava de’ Tirreni. She proceeded to drive in the Italian games vehicle title, completing second in the 1954 season. Seeing her potential, Maserati got her as the works driver.

De Filippis partook in different engine hustling occasions, including slope climbing and perseverance dashing, before being allowed to drive in Formula One. She completed second in a sportscar race supporting the 1956 Naples Grand Prix, driving a Maserati 200S.

Formula One

Maserati 250Fs in 1957

Maserati was a successful Formula One chassis manufacturer in the 1950s, supplying several teams and winning numerous races. In 1957 Juan Manuel Fangio won the drivers’ title in a Maserati 250F, his fifth and final championship win. The team officially withdrew from the sport at the end of the year but many of the cars remained, being driven by privateers. On 18 May 1958 de Filippis was given the opportunity to enter the Monaco Grand Prix, the second round of the 1958 Formula One season, in one of the 250Fs. Of the 31 entrants only half set a time good enough to qualify, with de Filippis missing out alongside fellow debutant and future Formula One Management and Formula One Administration president Bernie Ecclestone. De Filippis’s time of 1’50.8 was 5.8 seconds behind the qualifying time of the fastest 16 which included future world champions Mike Hawthorn, Jack Brabham, and Graham Hill in his first race. Fangio gave de Filippis plenty of advice during the season. In a 2006 interview she recalled that Fangio told her, “You go too fast, you take too many risks.”

The 1958 Belgian Grand Prix allowed all drivers to compete with no cut-off for a qualifying time. De Filippis qualified in last place, nearly 44 seconds off Tony Brooks’ pole position time. Although she was lapped twice in the 24 lap race she managed to finish, albeit in 10th and last place after nine other cars failed to finish. This would prove to be her only race finish.

At the following race, the French Grand Prix at Reims-Gueux on 6 July 1958, de Fillipis was unable to compete. She claimed in her 2006 interview that the French race director said “The only helmet a woman should wear is the one at the hairdresser’s” and that he prevented her from taking part.

De Filippis had a poor result at the 1958 Portuguese Grand Prix in August. She qualified in last place, more than 15 seconds slower than the car ahead of her, and only lasted six laps before her engine failed. On 7 September 1958, she started her home Grand Prix at the AutodromoNazionale Monza from last place. She completed 57 of the 70 laps before having to retire with engine problems. As the 14th and final retirement out of 21, she could be classified as finishing eighth.

De Filippis joined the Behra-Porsche RSK team for 1959 but again failed to qualify at the Monaco Grand Prix. Her time of 1’47.8 was only three seconds off the lowest qualifying pace and a further one second behind teammate Wolfgang von Trips. It was her final attempt at Grand Prix qualification, though she was still active in motor racing


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