Alessandro Nannini

Name: Alessandro Nannini

Nationality: Italy

Date of birth: July 7, 1959 - Siena

This good-natured, chain-smoking Italian always used to joke that he would never be the most famous member of his family. His sister Gianna was firmly established as one of their country's leading rock singers by the time Sandro assumed the number one seat in the Benetton-Ford squad after Thierry Boutsen's departure to Williams at the start of 1989. Having spent two seasons with Minardi, his recruitment by Benetton was regarded as timely. He immediately produced a series of mature performances, the most outstanding of which were third in the rain-soaked British Grand Prix and a chase through to ninth in the Italian Grand Prix after losing a lap at the start with mechanical problems. Nannini's competitive career on four wheels had started when he went rallying at the wheel of a Citroen Dyane. From then he changed to a Lancia Stratos in 1980 and made the switch to circuit racing, graduating through Formula 2 with Minardi in 1982 and staying with them through to the end of 1987. He won the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix after Senna's exclusion and was on course to win in Hungary the following year before Senna pushed him off the road. He finished third in the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez and then, a week later, one of his forearms was severed in a horrifying helicopter crash in the grounds of the family villa near Siena. Thanks to microsurgery the limb was reattached, but Sandro's Formula 1 days were over although he returned to drive Italian touring cars in 1992.

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