On This Day in #F1: 25 December

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Carlo Carloccio

– 1934: The only record Vettel will never match

The festive season carries few stories that lend themselves to a retelling of history hence why this entry celebrates a birth of a F1 legend that is unlikely to ever be matched.

Giancarlo BaghettiOn this day, seventy nine years ago, Giancarlo Baghetti was born in Milan to a wealthy industrialist family. The legacy he has left is limited but to this day is the only driver to have won on his Formula One debut.

His day in the sun occurred at Reims in France on the 2nd July 1961 and by winning the race he became the third driver to win his first World Championship race. Nino Farina had won the inaugural Formula One race in the 1950 British Grand Prix and Johnnie Parsons had won the 1950 Indianapolis 500 – itself a part of the F1 championship. However Farina and Parsons had competed in major Grand Prix events prior to the inaugural F1 season and it’s for this reason that Baghetti has the distinction of winning on his Grand Prix debut.

Baghetti began racing in 1955 and moved up to Formula Junior in 1958. In 1961 he was selected by the Federazione Italiana Scuderie Automobilistiche (FISA) to compete in non Championship Grand Prix’s in a Ferrari 156 Dino which was on loan from Ferrari. The FISA were a collection of Italian team owners that wanted to give promising young Italian drivers an opportunity to race in F1.

The car was first entered for the non championship 1961 Syracuse Grand Prix in Sicily and Baghetti beat a field which included the names of Clark, Moss, Brabham and Gurney.

The next event was the Naples Grand Prix but the field included very few top drivers as it was held on the same day as the 1961 Monaco GP.

At this point, Team FISA had acquired a new Ferrari 156 for the French GP and entered Baghetti.

He qualified 12th, whilst the official Ferrari drivers of Phil Hill, Wolfgang Von Trips and Richie Ginther locked out the top three positions.

Between the Ferraris and Baghetti were Stirling Moss, Dan Gurney, Graham Hill, John Surtees, Bruce Mclaren, Jim Clark, Innes Ireland and Tony Brooks – all names that are members of the pantheon of F1 winners.

Retirements would account for some of the aforementioned names but he still had to pass future legends to win the race.

So what became of the man who won his first three Grand Prix?

He retired in both the 1961 British and Italian GP’s; before being promoted to the full Ferrari squad for 1962. Unfortunately the red cars were outclassed by the British teams and he could only finish twice in lowly positions.

For 1963, he joined the ATS team but failed to finish in five attempts. He continued with an old BRM for 1964 but his career was effectively over and his last entry was at the 1967 Italian GP in a works Lotus.

He developed a career in journalism that covered both motor-sport and fashion, before he passed away in 1995 from cancer aged 60.

8 responses to “On This Day in #F1: 25 December

  1. Hi Carlo – wonderful start to the day – in fact I might even give up the rest of the day and just read this again. Great subject – an ‘also-ran’ who appeared with a bang… and just slipped away. I never understood why. Was he just over-lucky at the beginning, without the potential to move on…? But in that dice with Bonnier and Gurney he didn’t seem to put a foot wrong – which can NOT have been easy. Although it was a race of attrition he still led home some of the best drivers of the 60’s.
    I can only suspect his lack of success in the works team in ’62 demoralised him. I always seem to remember him with Lorenzo Bandini, another name worth your pen, at some time… (Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.)
    And I loved the lap of Rheims, one of my favourite circuits, if only because it was so different – basically three long straights and three hairpins – try setting up a car to do well in both. It was also great for slip-streaming, as the video shows. And I loved to see when locking out the front row of the grid meant having three cars.
    The Alfa Romeo ad. displayed a very elegant Italian gent. Loved the ‘tache’… 😉
    This has become a very nostalgic Christmas for me…
    Grazie tanto.

    • E stato un piacere BJF

      It’s a great chapter of history which I felt needed a wider audience , glad you enjoyed.

      Seasons greetings to you and your loved ones, also to all other participants of the best F1 site. Happy new year

      • Carlo,

        Many many thanks for your excellent articles and observations throughout the year. They have brought me pleasure and enlightenment in equal measure.

        I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy new year.

    • I’m no so sure my friend.

      In the last 20 years or so we’ve had Lewis driving a race winning McLaren and Jacques driving a race winning Williams on their debuts.

      I think we’ll see it again alright. Maybe at McLaren next year 😉

      Happy Christmas!

      • I think it would be great if it were ”repeated”… but to break it the driver will have to win the GP ”before” his first GP… 🙂
        Sorry… it must be the brandy-butter…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.