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Career

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Karting

Riccardo liked cars since his childhood, but motor racing wasn’t the first sport he felt in love with… At first skiing and swimming were his favorite sports. His father and older brother were very passionate about motor racing so talking about racing cars and drivers and reading news and magazines about this sport was pretty usual in Patrese’s family home, but Riccardo wasn’t much interested in racing until his brother decided to get a go-kart.

The go-karts were created in the USA, but soon they became very popular in Europe and when his brother Alberto bought a go-kart for racing, the 6 years old Riccardo started to follow him with the curiosity of a such young boy for see how go-kart racing was like and started to like it.

He started to drive go-karts at 6 years old, but at that time you couldn’t compete at a such young age and so for some years he drove go-karts just for fun. It was only in 1965, with 11 years old, that Riccardo started to compete in Karting races with a go-kart built by his brother. He became a professional Karting driver five years later, in 1970, at 16 years old.

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A 6 years old Riccardo Patrese driving a go-kart in october 5th, 1960 (source: Book Patrese 200 Volte, Via! by Maurizio Refini)

In 1971 he got his first title at the 3rd Category of Italian Karting Championship and got expressive results enough to become part of the Italian Karting Team in 1972 for compete in the European and the World Championships (at that time drivers raced in championships with national teams like in soccer and other sports). In his first appearance in the World Championship, at Kalmar (Sweden), he finished in 4th place.

In 1973 and 1974 Riccardo won the European Team Karting Championship (the others drivers in the team for both years were: Piero Necchi, Gabriele Gorini, and Eddie Cheever Jr. – which Riccardo met again some years later in Formula 1) and also in 1974 he finally conquered the World Championship at Estoril (beating karting star driver Terry Fullerton and future F1 champion Alain Prost among others), which opened the doors for the next step in his racing career: the Formula Italia Championship. At that time, he was also taking part on skiing competitions and was good enough to be part of the Italian Skiing Team, but his family asked him to choose between skiing and motor racing… Well, I think we all know what was his decision, right?

Riccardo in Estoril during the 1974 Karting World Championship and some time later receiving the World Champion Trophy

On these days Riccardo owns a go-kart and races with it sometimes, but now only as a hobby, with his children. He was also back to the karting scene going to race tracks in Italy and Europe to follow his son Lorenzo, who wanted to become a racing driver just like him.

Karting Summary

1965

  • Starts to race with go-karts

1970

  • Becomes a professional Karting driver

1971

  • Italian Karting Champion (3rd category)

1972

  • Italian Karting Champion (2nd category)

  • Pilota d’oro Karting Winner

  • 4th place in the Karting World Championship at Kalmar (Sweden)

1973

  • European Team Karting Champion

  • 10th place at the “Coppa dei Campioni” with Jesolo

  • 9th place in the Karting World Championship at Nivelles (Belgium)

  • Medaglia d’argento al valore atletico for winning the European Team Karting Championship

1974

  • Karting World Champion (class 100)

  • European Team Karting Champion

  • Medaglia d’oro given by Autosprint

  • Medaglia d’oro al valore atletico for winning the World Karting Championship

In Parma (1972) and with the Italian Karting Team (1974)

Interview as a Karting Driver
Talking about Karting days

Racing Career Summary

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1975

  • Debuts in Formula Italia finishing the championship in 2nd place

1976

  • Italian Formula 3 Champion

  • European Formula 3 Champion

  • Monza Lottery Winner

  • Casco d’oro Trophy by Autosprint

  • Premio Ascari, Castellotti, Musso

  • Premio Rocca Pendice

1977

  • Italian Formula 2 Champion

  • 4th Place in European Formula 2 Championship

  • Debuts in Formula 1 at the Monaco Grand Prix by Team Shadow

  • Gets his first Formula 1 points at the Japanese Grand Prix

  • 20th Place in Formula  1 World Championship

  • Gets his first (and last) Formula 2 victory in Suzuka

  • Macau Grand Prix Winner

  • Premio Chevron per l’automobilismo

1978

  • 12th Place in Formula 1 World Championship

  • Macau Grand Prix Winner

  • Gets the leadership of a Formula 1 race for the first time

  • First Formula 1 podium (Swedish Grand Prix)

  • Giro d´Italia Winner

1979

  • 19th Place in Formula 1 World Championship

  • Debuts in Sportscars racing with Team Lancia, getting his first pole position and victory at Sportscars in this same year

  • Debuts in Touring Cars Championship, getting the pole position in his first race

  • Second Place in Macau Grand Prix

  • Premio nazionale La Torretta per lo sport.

1980

  • 9th Place in Formula 1 World Championship

  • Gets 1 podium finish (USA West)

  • 50th Formula 1 Grand Prix – Canadian Grand Prix

  • Wins 4 Sportscars races with Team Lancia

  • Giro d´Italia Winner

  • Best Italian driver of the year

  • Premio Ascari, Castellotti, Musso

  • Campione italiano assoluto di velocità

1981

  • 11th Place in Formula 1 World Championship

  • Gets his first Pole Position in Formula 1 at the USA West Grand Prix

  • Gets two podium finishes in F1 (Brazil and Imola)

  • Wins the Watkins Glens Grand Prix for Lancia in Sportscars

  • Triveneto Champion elected by Gazzetta dello Sport readers

1982

  • 10th Place in Formula 1 World Championship

  • 2nd Place in World Endurance Championship

  • Gets 2 podium finishes (USA West and Canada)

  • First Formula 1 Victory – Monaco Grand Prix

  • Wins 5 World Endurance Championship races with Team Lancia

1983

  • 10th Place in Formula 1 World Championship

  • 21 pts in the World Endurance Championship

  • Gets 1 podium finish (Germany)

  • Gets his second Pole Position in Formula 1 at the Italian Grand Prix

  • Gets his second victory in Formula 1 at the South African Grand Prix

1984

  • 10th Place in Formula 1 World Championship

  • 27th Place in the World Endurance Championship

  • 100th Formula 1 Grand Prix – Italian Grand Prix

  • Gets a podium finish in the Italian Grand Prix

  • Gets a Pole Position in Silverstone and a victory in South Africa for Lancia in the World Endurance Championship

1985

  • 20th Place in Formula 1 World Championship

  • Gets 4 Pole Positions and 1 victory for Lancia in the World Endurance Championship

1986

  • 17th Place in Formula 1 World Championship

1987

  • 13th Place in Formula 1 World Championship

  • 150th Formula 1 Grand Prix – French Grand Prix

  • Gets a podium finish in the Mexican Grand Prix

  • Debuts in the Canon Williams Team at the Australian GP

  • Raced the Monza 500km for the World Touring Car Championship, but was disqualified due to  roof metal thickness

  • Raced in Imola for the European Touring Car Championship, but retired from the race

1988

  • 11th Place in Formula 1 World Championship

  • Gets Pole Position and victory for Alfa Romeo at the Magione Grand Prix in Italian Super Touring Car Championship

  • Giro d’Italia Winner

1989

  • 3rd Place in Formula 1 World Championship

  • Becomes the driver with most Grand Prix Starts in Formula 1

  • Gets his third Pole Position in Formula 1 at the Hungarian Grand Prix

  • Gets 6 podiums finishes (Mexico, USA, Canada, France, Japan and Australia)

  • Premio Il Gattamelata by the readers of the Sportivo Padovano

  • Trofeo d’eccellenza dell’Associazione Nazionale Corridori Automobilisti

  • Trofeo Ludovico Scarfiotti

  • Best Italian driver of the year

  • Medaglia d’argento al valore atletico for finishing the Formula 1 World Championship in 3rd place

  • Medaglia di bronzo al valore atletico for winning the Campionato italiano assoluto di velocità

1990

  • 7th Place in Formula 1 World Championship

  • Wins the San Marino Grand Prix

  • 200th Formula 1 Grand Prix – British Grand Prix

  • Campione italiano assoluto di velocità

1991

  • 3rd Place in Formula 1 World Championship

  • Gets two Formula 1 victories in Mexico and Portugal

  • Gets 4 Poles Positions in Formula 1 (Canada, Mexico, France and Portugal)

  • Gets 8 podiums finishes (Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Spain and Japan)

  • Campione italiano assoluto di velocità

1992

  • 2nd Place in Formula 1 World Championship

  • Wins the Japanese Grand Prix

  • Gets 9 podium finishes (South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, San Marino, Monaco, France, Great Britain, Belgium and Japan)

  • Gets a Pole Position in the Hungarian Grand Prix

  • Gets the 2nd place in the FIA Formula 1 Drivers Championship

  • Campione italiano assoluto di velocità

1993

  • 5th Place in Formula 1 World Championship

  • 250th Formula 1 Grand Prix – German Grand Prix

  • Two podiums finishes (Great Britain and Hungary)

  • Races his last Formula 1 Grand Prix at Australia

  • Campione italiano assoluto di velocità

1995

  • Takes part in the German Super Touring Cars Championship driving a Ford Mondeo having Thierry Boutsen as team mate. Finished in 35th Place

1996

  • Tests the 1996 Williams Formula 1 car in Silverstone and gets a time that would be sufficient for put him in the 4th place on the grid for that year’s British Grand Prix

1997

  • Takes Part in Le Mans 24 Hours with Nissan. Didn't finish the race

2005-2006

  • Returns to racing, debuting in Grand Prix Masters Series

  • Gets his first (and only) podium finish in GP Masters in his first race (South African Grand Prix)

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For complete race by race results, please visit Riccardo's page in Wikipedia. See also: Vital Statistics by FIA