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Stefano Modena

12th May 1963 (Age 57)
San Prospero, Emilia-Romagna
Most recent race (in database):

Stefano Modena was a quiet and introverted youngster whose ascent to Formula 1 was rapid. Once he had arrived however, he was unable to translate undoubted talent into a sustained and successful career.

Upbringing and successful early racing career

Born into a humble Modena family, his karting accolades included the 1978 Junior World Cup and 1983 European Intercontinental A title. He was a frontrunner in the 1986 Italian Formula 3 Championship – his Team Seresina Reynard 863-Alfa Romeo winning three times and Modena fourth overall. Also second at Monaco, he crowned a fine debut season in cars by winning the one-off race at Imola that decided that year’s European F3 Champion.

With backing from Marlboro, Modena signed for the works-backed Onyx March team for the 1987 Formula 3000 season. The first seven races were all won by different drivers including Modena at Vallelunga. Dominant on the streets of Birmingham and a winner once more at Imola, Modena clinched the title at Járama’s final round.

Formula 1 with Brabham and EuroBrun

The 1987 season ended with an unexpected Grand Prix debut in Australia when Modena retired the Brabham BT56-BMW vacated by Williams-bound Riccardo Patrese. He tested for Benetton but was only able to secure a drive with the new to F1 EuroBrun team for 1988. The team struggled and Modena finished no higher than 11th in Hungary.

The Brabham team returned after a year away in 1989 under the ownership of Joachim Luhti. Modena was hired and finished third at Monaco in a rare race when Pirelli were the tyres to have. He was fifth at Phoenix in the opening race of 1990 but grew ever-more disenchanted with the team.

Grand Prix finale with Tyrrell and Jordan

The Italian moved to Tyrrell in 1991 with the venerable British team benefiting from healthy Braun sponsorship and Honda V10 engines. Again his year began with a points finish (fourth in the United States GP) and he qualified in a career-best second position at Monaco. He was running second when he retired but finished in that position in the next race in Montréal.

Eighth in his best F1 season, Modena again moved on. He joined Jordan Grand Prix for 1992 but it was a year blighted by mechanical failures and DNQs with the Jordan 192-Yamaha. Modena finished sixth in the Australian GP in what was the last race of his F1 career. A once much vaunted talent was no longer required.

Career after Formula 1

He raced Alfa Romeo touring cars from 1993 in the German DTM, International Touring Car Series and national 2000cc championships in both Germany and Italy over the coming years. He scored a double victory at Avus on his 1994 debut in the former but that was the highlight. Modena retired from the sport after a single DTM season with Opel in 2000.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2000 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
14 (4) 0 0 0
0% win rate
15th 15
1996 International Touring Car Series
JAS Motorsport
23 (3) 0 3 0
0% win rate
12th 92
1995 International Touring Car Series
10 0 1 0
0% win rate
7th 49
1995 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
11 0 1 0
0% win rate
16th 26
1994 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
Alfa Corse
6 2 4 2
34% win rate
12th 74
1992 F1 World Championship
Sasol Jordan Yamaha
12 (4) 0 0 0
0% win rate
17th 1
1991 F1 World Championship
Braun Tyrrell Honda
16 0 1 0
0% win rate
8th 10
1990 F1 World Championship
Motor Racing Developments
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 2
1989 F1 World Championship
Motor Racing Developments
15 (1) 0 1 0
0% win rate
16th 4
1988 F1 World Championship
EuroBrun Racing
10 (6) 0 0 0
0% win rate
1987 F1 World Championship
Motor Racing Developments
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
1987 FIA International F3000 Championship
Onyx Race Engineering
11 0 4 3
28% win rate
1st 40 (41)
1986 European F3 Cup
Ravarotto Racing
1 0 1 1
100% win rate
1st 0
1986 Italian F3 Championship 4th 38
1985 Italian F3 Championship 15th 5