DRIVERS: ARTURO MERZARIO

Name: Arturo Merzario
Nationality: Italy
Date of birth: March 11, 1943 - Como

The son of a successful building contractor from Como, Arturo Merzario built himself a good reputation racing small capacity Abarth sports cars in the late 1960s before being hired to drive for the Ferrari factory team in 1970. The team was struggling to beat the great Porsche 917 but in 1972 the factory produced the 312P and Ferrari was suddenly back winning sports car races. Merzario raced alongside Brian Redman, Jacky Ickx, Mario Andretti and others and scored a memorable victory with Sandro Munari on the Targa Florio in Sicily.

Halfway through 1972 F1 driver Clay Regazzoni was out of action with a broken arm after an accident playing football and, with Andretti racing in the US, Ferrari gave Merzario a chance to race in F1. He finished sixth in the British GP and in Germany had a second race in a third car. This led to the decision to hire Merzario as Jacky Ickx's partner for 1973, the team deciding to give up using commuting US driver Andretti. The timing was not brilliant as Merzario arrived when Ferrari was at probably its lowest ebb in F1 and at the end of that season he was dropped to make way for Niki Lauda and Regazzoni.

Arturo became an Alfa Romeo sports car driver while racing in F1 for Frank Williams. He enjoyed considerable success with Alfa Romeo, helping the team to win the sports car titles in 1975 and 1977 but his F1 career was reduced to setting up his own team, Team Merzario and running a private March in 1977. He also did a one-off race for Shadow in Austria.

In 1978 he decided to build his own F1 cars. The project was underfinanced and never successful and in 1980 he withdrew from F1. He then fitted a BMW F2 engine into the back of the Merzario chassis and ran the cars in Formula 2. A second car followed in 1981 but the team then switched to customer Marches and enjoyed better results before going back to his own car in 1983. The final Merzario F2 car appeared in 1984 but it was never a great success and Merzario dropped from the racing scene.

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