June 9, 1898 – The oldest winning F1 driver is born

Luigi Fagioli, the oldest driver to ever win a Formula One race, was born on this day in 1898 in Osimo, Italy. It was there he developed a passion for the relatively new invention of the automobile. As a young boy he discovered a talent for driving after entering hill climbing and sports car racing events. He climbed the ranks and began Grand Prix racing in 1926. His continued successes behind the wheel earned him an invitation to race the Grand Prix Circuit for Maserati in 1930. Then his career took off. His Grand Prix wins included Coppa Ciano in 1930, the Italian Grand Prix in 1933 and 1934,  Coppa Acerbo in 1933 and 1934, and the Monaco Grand Prix in 1935. Fagioli is the only driver to win a Formula One race that was born prior to the 20th century.

Fagioli faced some serious health issues prior to WWII, which forced him to stop racing. However, with his health somewhat improved, the now 52-year-old was asked to join Alfa-Romeo’s 1950 Formula One team. He made six podium appearances that year and earned 3rd place in the first ever FIA World Championship.

Above: Luigi Fagioli in 1932
Top: Fagioli racing at the 1928 Targa Florio

Fagioli enters his last F1 GP

The following year Fagioli only entered one Grand Prix in Formula One, the French Grand Prix, which was held July 1, 1951. This would not only be his last Grand Prix in his career, but his final win as well, earning him the distinction of being the oldest person to win a GP race in Formula One. Interestingly, he did not cross the line first, but his teammate Juan-Manuel Fangio did, which gave Fagioli the win as well. The following year Fagioli died of injuries sustained while practicing for a sports car race that was to be as the Monaco Grand Prix. 

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