Open main menu

Arturo Francesco "Art" Merzario (born 11 March 1943 in Civenna, Como) (erroneously registered as Arturio on his birth certificate) is a racing driver from Italy. He participated in 85 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 15 July 1972. He scored 11 championship points.

Arturo Merzario
Arturo Merzario - Giro Automobilistico d'Italia 1980.jpg
Merzario in 1980
Born (1943-03-11) 11 March 1943 (age 76)
Formula One World Championship career
NationalityItaly Italian
Active years19721979
TeamsFerrari, Iso–Marlboro, Williams, Fittipaldi, March, Wolf–Williams, Shadow, Merzario
Entries85 (57 starts)
Championships0
Wins0
Podiums0
Career points11
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
First entry1972 British Grand Prix
Last entry1979 United States Grand Prix

Contents

Racing careerEdit

Merzario began his career as a test driver with works Fiat Abarths, subsequently participating to GT racing and European mountain-climb events.[1] In 1969 he won the Mugello Grand Prix in a 2-litre Abarth ahead of a field which included Nino Vaccarella and Andrea de Adamich. This brought him a drive with the Ferrari sportscar team for 1970. In 1972, he won the Spa 1000 km, the Targa Florio and the Rand 9 Hour races and was also European two-litre Champion for Abarth.[1]

Formula OneEdit

Merzario made his Formula One debut in 1972, and became one of the few drivers to score points at their first race by finishing in sixth place in the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch.[2] In 1973 Ferrari confirmed him for the whole season alongside Jacky Ickx. Merzario had a promising start with the old 312B2, finishing fourth in Brazil and South Africa. However, Ferrari's evolved car, the 312B3, proved to be a disappointment, and both he and Ickx struggled for the rest of the season. Deeply unimpressed with the way the season had unfolded, Enzo Ferrari decided to change the whole team for the 1974 season, and Merzario moved to Williams. After finishing third in a non-Championship race in Brazil, Merzario scored points at the Monza and in South Africa. However, the Williams cars were largely uncompetitive, and in 1975, after a one-off with the Copersucar at Monza, where he finished eleventh,[1][2], Merzario returned to sports cars with Alfa Romeo — winning four races plus the Targa Florio again.

Merzario returned to Formula One full-time in 1976, initially with the works March. After a run of disappointing results — and disgruntled with his situation[1] — he moved to Wolf, who had just merged his team with Frank Williams Racing Cars, replacing Jacky Ickx; but, again, there were no decent results. During the 1976 German Grand Prix, Niki Lauda crashed heavily; Merzario was one of the drivers, along with Guy Edwards, Brett Lunger and Harald Ertl who stopped to help, effectively pulling Lauda out of the burning car. 37 years later, in an interview with BBC Radio 5 linked to the release of Rush, Lauda stated that "Merzario jumped into the fire and, alone, pulled me out of the wreckage so I survived… he really saved my life there, because a couple of seconds more I would have never made it."[3] Six weeks later after the incident, at the Italian Grand Prix, Lauda returned to race again and presented his gold Rolex wristwatch to Merzario in gratitude for saving his life.

In 1977, Merzario was able to raise enough sponsors to set up his own Merzario team. The organization struggled in modern Formula One for three years, initially with March 761B cars. From 1978, Merzario began building cars of his own design,[1] and the team would eventually move down to Formula Two. In three seasons, the team was only classified on one occasion — at the 1977 Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder — when Merzario was officially placed fourteenth. During the season, he accepted a one-off drive with Shadow in the 1977 Austrian Grand Prix at the Österreichring, but a good drive led to retirement again.[1] Merzario continued with his own chassis for two seasons, but results were very poor; the team's cars did not qualify on the majority of occasions, and often retired from the races they did start.[2] The Merzario M1-BMW fared no better in Formula Two in 1980[1], but Merzario continued to race sports cars with some success after his works Formula One career finished.[1]

During his time in Formula One, Merzario was often photographed wearing a cowboy hat with sponsorship patches from Marlboro. This became his signature look, and Merzario still wears the hat.

Sports cars and other competitionsEdit

Merzario began his career with Abarth in GT racing and mountain climbs;[1] he also won the Sardinia Rally in 1963 in an Alfa Romeo Giulietta. He had several class wins throughout the 1960s; his victory in the Mugello Grand Prix of 1969 led to a Ferrari sports car drive. In 1970, he was third in the 24 hours of Daytona and fourth in the 1000 Kilometres of Monza using a Ferrari 512S. Further wins followed in 1971 at Imola and Vallelunga for Ferrari and Abarth, respectively.

In 1972, Merzario won the 1000 Kilometres of Spa with Brian Redman in a Ferrari 312PB, won the Targa Florio alongside Sandro Munari, and made his Formula One World Championship debut. In 1973, Merzario took second places in the 1000 Kilometres of Nürburgring and at Le Mans. Merzario also won the Targa Florio in 1975 with an Alfa Romeo T33, and his career continued in sports cars and GT racing into the 1990s; he won the 1985 Italian Prototype Championship, and later campaigned successfully with a Centenari M1.

Merzario was still active in sports car racing well into his sixties, driving mostly in an Italian prototype series.

Racing recordEdit

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans resultsEdit

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1970   SpA Ferrari SEFAC   Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 512S S 5.0 38 DNF DNF
1973   SpA Ferrari SEFAC   Carlos Pace Ferrari 312PB S 3.0 349 2nd 2nd
Source:[4]

Complete European Formula Two Championship resultsEdit

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Pos. Pts
1971 Racing Team IRIS Tecno TF70 Cosworth FVA HOC
Ret
THR NÜR JAR
DNQ
PAL ROU
DNQ
MAN TUL ALB VAL VAL NC 0
1974 Osella Squadra Corse Osella PA2 BMW BAR HOC PAU SAL HOC MUG KAR PER HOC VAL
Ret
NC 0
1975 Osella Squadra Corse Osella FA2 BMW EST THR HOC NÜR PAU HOC SAL ROU MUG PER SIL
Ret
ZOL NOG VAL
Ret
NC 0
1976 Willi Kauhsen Racing Team March 762 Hart HOC THR VAL SAL PAU HOC ROU MUG PER
DNS
EST NOG NC 0
Osella Squadra Corse Osella FA2 BMW HOC
DNQ
1977 Fred Opert Racing Chevron B40 Hart SIL THR HOC NÜR VAL PAU MUG ROU NOG PER MIS
Ret
EST DON NC 0
1978 ICI Chevron Cars Chevron B42 Hart THR HOC NÜR PAU MUG
6
VAL ROU DON NOG PER MIS
5
HOC NC 0
1980 Merzario Team Srl Merzario M1 BMW THR
Ret
HOC
Ret
NÜR
Ret
VAL PAU
9
SIL
Ret
ZOL MUG
16
ZAN
17
PER
DNS
MIS HOC
Ret
27th 0
1981 Astra Team Merzario Srl Merzario M1 BMW SIL
DNQ
HOC THR
DNS
MAN
Ret
NC 0
March 812 NÜR
Ret
VAL MUG PAU PER SPA DON MIS
Source:[5]

Merzario was a graded driver and therefore ineligible to score championship points.

Complete Formula One World Championship resultsEdit

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 WDC Pts
1972 Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 312B2 Ferrari 001/1 3.0 F12 ARG RSA ESP MON BEL FRA GBR
6
GER
12
AUT ITA CAN USA 20th 1
1973 Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 312B2 Ferrari 001/1 3.0 F12 ARG
9
BRA
4
RSA
4
ESP BEL 12th 6
Ferrari 312B3 Ferrari 001/11 3.0 F12 MON
Ret
SWE FRA
7
GBR NED GER AUT
7
ITA
Ret
CAN
15
USA
16
1974 Frank Williams Racing Cars Iso–Marlboro FW Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 ARG
Ret
BRA
Ret
RSA
6
ESP
Ret
BEL
Ret
MON
Ret
SWE
DNS
NED
Ret
FRA
9
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
ITA
4
CAN
Ret
USA
Ret
17th 4
1975 Frank Williams Racing Cars Williams FW03 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 ARG
NC
BRA
Ret
RSA
Ret
MON
DNQ
BEL
Ret
SWE NED FRA GBR GER AUT NC 0
Williams FW04 ESP
Ret
Copersucar-Fittipaldi Fittipaldi FD03 ITA
11
USA
1976 Ovoro Team March March 761 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 BRA RSA USW
DNQ
ESP
Ret
BEL
Ret
MON
DNQ
SWE
14
FRA
9
GBR
Ret
NC 0
Walter Wolf Racing Wolf–Williams FW05 GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
NED
Ret
ITA
DNS
CAN
Ret
USA
Ret
JPN
Ret
1977 Team Merzario March 761B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 ARG BRA RSA USW ESP
Ret
MON
DNQ
BEL
14
SWE FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
DNQ
NED
DNQ
ITA USA CAN JPN NC 0
Shadow Racing Team Shadow DN8 AUT
Ret
1978 Team Merzario Merzario A1 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 ARG
Ret
BRA
DNQ
RSA
Ret
USW
Ret
MON
DNPQ
BEL
DNPQ
ESP
DNQ
SWE
NC
FRA
DNQ
GBR
Ret
GER
DNQ
AUT
DNQ
NED
Ret
ITA
Ret
USA
Ret
CAN
DNQ
NC 0
1979 Team Merzario Merzario A1B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 ARG
Ret
BRA
DNQ
RSA
DNQ
USW
Ret
NC 0
Merzario A2 ESP
DNQ
BEL
DNQ
MON FRA
DNQ
AUT
DNQ
Merzario A4 GBR
DNQ
GER
DNQ
NED
DNQ
ITA
DNQ
CAN
DNQ
USA
DNQ
Source:[6]

Formula One Non-Championship resultsEdit

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3
1974 Frank Williams Racing Cars Iso–Marlboro FW Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 PRE
3
ROC INT
1975 Frank Williams Racing Cars Iso–Marlboro FW03 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 ROC
7
INT
DNS
SUI
1979 Team Merzario Merzario A4 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 ROC GNM DIN
11
Source:[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. p. 252. ISBN 0851127029.
  2. ^ a b c Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. p. 253. ISBN 0851127029.
  3. ^ "In Short – 'I was there': Niki Lauda Grand Prix crash, 1976 – BBC Radio 5 live". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  4. ^ "All Results of Arturo Merzario". RacingSportCars. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Arturo Merzario – Biography". MotorSportMagazine. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  6. ^ Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. pp. 253–4. ISBN 0851127029.