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Giovanna Amati

20th July 1959 (Age 61)
Rome, Lazio
Most recent race (in database):

Talent has never been the sole factor in choosing a Grand Prix driver. Finance, beauty and marketability all contributed to Giovanna Amati’s arrival in Formula 1 but she failed to qualify for any of the three races she entered and her brief F1 flirtation was over.

Upbringing and route to Formula 1

The daughter of a successful Roman industrialist, she had been kidnapped for ransom as a child. Amati began racing in 1981 when influenced by friend Elio de Angelis. She competed in Italian Formula 3 in 1985 and 1986 – her debut season including some strong performances in a Ravarotto Ralt RT30.

Encouraged, Amati graduated to Formula 3000 at Donington Park in 1987. She failed to qualify more often than not over the next five years and seventh on the Le Mans Bugatti circuit in 1991 was her best result. She had also tried the Japanese series in 1989 but was equally frustrated there.

Formula 1 disappointment with Brabham

Brabham signed Japanese Formula 3000 race winner Akihiko Nakaya for the 1992 GP season but the FIA refused his application for a Superlicence as that championship was not recognised as a formal route to F1 at the time. That Amati – whose F3000 form in both Europe and Japan had been questionable at best – did qualify for her licence and replaced Nakaya was bizarre.

She duly became the fifth woman to attempt to compete in the F1 World Championship but this was not the competitive Brabham team of old. Amati failed to qualify the Brabham BT60B-Judd for three GPs (her respected team-mate Eric van de Poele also failed to qualify twice during that time) and was replaced by Damon Hill.

Women’s champion in the 1993 Porsche Supercup, she continued to compete in the Ferrari Challenge and occasional endurance races until 1999. Giovanna Amati remains in the sport working for Italy’s F1 broadcaster RAI.