DRIVERS: FRANCISCO (CHICO) LANDI
Name: Francisco (Chico) Landi
Date of birth: July 14, 1907
Date of death: June 7, 1989 - Sao Paulo
Francisco Landi was born in Sao Paolo in Brazil in 1907. He began racing in 1934 when he entered the Grande Premio da Cidade de Rio de Janeiro on the daunting Gavea circuit in the Rio district of Leblon, which at the time was the end of the local streetcar line, beyond Ipanema. The circuit was known as "The Devil's Trampoline" because at one point it ran along the top of cliffs beside the sea and then turned up into the hills to return to Leblon via a series of hairpins. Landi was leading the race when his car failed him but he would later win the race on a number of occasions in Alfa Romeo machinery, his first win coming in 1941.
He won again in 1947 and 1948 by which time he had become the first Brazilian racer to have a serious international career, driving an Alfa Romeo in the three-race Temporada series in Argentina in 1947, against some of the best known names in Europe. He finished third to Luigi Villoresi and Achille Varzi in the Gran Premio del General Juan Peron and fifth in the Gran Premio Eva Peron. That same year he raced in Europe, his first event being the Bari Grand Prix in 1947 in a Maserati. The race was won by Varzi. Landi retired but a year later, against an impressive field, he won the same event (then a Formula 2 race) and in 1952 won Bari a second time in a Ferrari sports car.
Between 1951 and 1956 Landi took part in a total of six World Championship events as a Ferrari privateer and in a Escuderia Bandeirantes Maserati 250F. It was in this latter car that he finished fourth in the Argentine Grand Prix of 1956, sharing his car with Italian Gerino Gerini, to become the first Brazilian driver to score points in Formula 1.
In the years that followed Landi helped to build up motor racing in his home country. In 1960 he shared a Brazilian-made FNM JK to victory in the important 1000 Mile race, the first win for a local machine and in 1962 he attempted to launch Formula Junior in Brazil. He was also running a garage and car accessory business and eventually became the manager of the Interlagos circuit. He died in June 1989 at the age of 81.