Giovanni Galli

Giovanni Galli was born in Bologna in 1940, the son of a wealthy textile manufacturer. He grew up in a small town near Florence and in his teens was a keen kart racer. In 1964 he switched to touring car racing with a Steyr-Puch before switching to a more competitive Mini Cooper S. After some promising performances he was hired for 1966 to be an Alfa Romeo factory driver, racing a GTA for Autodelta.

Galli began racing single seaters in 1967 in Formula 2 with a privately-entered Brabham BT23 but he concentrated on Alfa Romeo in 1968, gaining second place with Ignazio Giunti on the Targa Florio and fourth place at Le Mans. In 1969 he turned to Formula 2 seriously, joining the Tecno team alongside Francois Cevert. He beat the Frenchman on several occasions and finished seventh in the European Championship. That same year he also raced several times in sports car events for Matra.

In the course of 1970 he tried to qualify an outdated McLaren for the Italian GP but failed to make the grid. In 1971 he went back to Alfa Romeo and finished second in the Sebring 12 Hours. That year he moved into Formula 1 on the back of the Milan company's somewhat erratic engine supply partnership with the March team. He finished fifth in a non-championship race at Hockenheim. He made his World Championship debut at the Dutch GP and spent the rest of the year, switching between Alfa Romeo and Cosworth-engined cars. He also competed in F2 with a Team Iris Tecno.

In 1972 he became a Tecno F1 driver. The cars were poorly-prepared and unreliable but that summer he finished third in the Grand Prix of the Italian Republic at the Vallelunga circuit, in the hills outside Rome. At the French GP at Clermont Ferrand Ferrari asked him to stand in for Clay Regazzoni, who had broken his arm playing football, and he finished 13th. At the start of 1973 he briefly drove for the Williams Iso-Marlboro team but decided that he had enough of motor racing and retired after Monaco in 1973.

He concentrated on building up his "Fruit of the Loom" fashion brand. He was briefly a Williams sponsor in 1978 but in 1983 played a more important role by convincing the Benetton family, with whom he did business, to go into Formula 1 with Tyrrell. The Italians latter switched to the Euroracing Alfa Romeo team before buying the struggling Toleman team in the spring of 1985, changing its name to Benetton Formula.