Welcome to The Italian Hero, an unofficial website in tribute to former Formula 1 and racing driver Riccardo Patrese. Being online since 2002, it is made by a fan to all fans worldwide. In its 20th anniversary we decided to focus only in his racing career until 2006 (Grand Prix Masters Series) and give to the website a new home and new look. Remember Riccardo's racing career through our articles, interviews and multimedia.
Riccardo Gabriele Patrese was born in Padova, Italy, in April 17th 1954. Since his childhood he was involved with sports and his first sport was the Ski. He started to practice this sport too early, when he was a little boy and followed it until he was 20 years old. He was a top skier and even won championships like the Coca – Cola Ski Championship in the early seventies.
The cars always were part of Riccardo’s life and with 9 years old he had his first experience in motorsport driving a Kart. At the start he drove Karts only during summers just for fun. During winters the young Riccardo used to participate of swimming competitions. Yes, Riccardo was a swimmer, too. He followed this sport until he was 15 years old. Riccardo was a free style swimmer and for the relay a back-stroke swimmer. He left the swimming competitions when his team broke up…
Riccardo continued to do Kart races and since that time he impressed everyone with his talent. In 1974, with 20 years old, he won the world title and received an offer to drive for the Nettuno Racing Team in Formula Italia where he had a brilliant participation finishing the championship in the second place.
In 1976 he went to European Formula 3 where he won the title in his rookie year!! In 1977 he went to Formula 2 and in that same year he made his debut in Formula 1 in the Monaco Grand Prix.
Patrese stayed in Formula 1 for 17 seasons, he had ups and downs but ended his career being one of the most respected and loved Formula 1 drivers. He won 6 races and got 8 pole positions in 256 Grand Prix and held the record of Grand Prix starts until 2008. Riccardo’s best position in the World Championship was the second place in 1992, a year where his team, Williams, had the best car and dominated the championship. He retired from F1 at the end of the 1993 season after a bad year in Benetton.
After retiring from Formula 1, Riccardo participated of the German Super Touring Championship in 1995 and of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1997.
He also participated of Horse Jumping contests until 2014 and won some titles. He is the president of Associazione Mondiale Piloti per la Solidarietà and plays soccer in the Associazione’s team, the Nazionale Piloti, in charity games. He also participates of charity soccer games playing in the Star Team for Children created by Prince Albert of Monaco. Riccardo plays a lot of Tennis and Golf, too and sometimes we can see him again in the motorsport scene going to watch some F1 races in the Paddock and participating of the traditional Goodwood Festival of Speed in England.
In 2005 and 2006 Riccardo returned to compete as a racing driver and took part in the Grand Prix Masters Series, a Racing Series for former Formula 1 Drivers with more than 45 years old, and in his debut race in Kyalami he finished in third showing that still was very competitive.
In 2018 he raced the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps driving a Honda NSX GT3 and finished in 7th place. He also raced the 24 Hours of Adria back in 2019 driving a Seat Leon and finished in 3rd place! Now, Riccardo can be seen on some tracks in Italy and Europe following the racing career of his son Lorenzo.