Montoyas honored by Italians

THERE are a million and one different awards handed out each year to successful Grand Prix drivers but few of them have the same emotional value as the annual "Lorenzo Bandini Award", which is presented each year by the village of Brisighella, not far from Imola, to recognize fighting spirit in Formula 1. The award will be made to Montoya on April 12.

Lorenzo Bandini was Italy's great hope in the mid-1960s who had a meteoric rise to F1 going from a borrowed Fiat 1100 in 1957 to a Formula 1 Cooper-Maserati in 1961. This caught the attention of Enzo Ferrari who signed up Bandini in 1962 although he raced mainly in sportscars for the first two years with the team, winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1963 with Lodovico Scarfiotti. In 1964 he had his moment of glory at the first Austrian GP at the bumpy Zeltweg airfield, where all the frontrunners retired. He won the Targa Florio in 1965 and became John Surtees's number two at Ferrari the following year. At the start of 1967 he won the Daytona 24 Hours but at the Monaco GP he crashed while trying to catch the leader Denny Hulme. The Ferrari overturned and Bandini was trapped beneath the flaming wreck. He died three days later from terrible burns although the reaction to his death was an important element in reducing the risk of fire in F1.

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