Siegfried Stohr

The name may sound German but Siegfried Stohr was born and brought up in Italy, the son of a German father and an Italian mother. Growing up in Rimini he had little time to go racing in his teenage years as he studied to get to university and later emerged with a degree in psychology.

He started karting only at 19 and was soon competing at national level and moved to cars in 1976, when he was 24, in Formula Italia. He won the title in his second year of competition and moved up to Italian Formula 3 in 1978 with Pino Trivellato and backing from Beta Utensili, the tool company. He was a convincing champion and finished second at Monaco against the best international racers. This led to the chance to race in Formula 2 but the Chevron was not very competitive and he switched to Alan Dockingís DS Racing and the Toleman chassis for 1980. It was a good year, including a victory at Enna and a second place at Pau. He thus finished fourth in the European championship.

With help from Beta he moved into F1 with Arrows as partner to Riccardo Patrese. Patrese was on great form and Stohr struggled to compete, improving as the year went on. But at Zolder, amid much confusion due to a protest by some of the drivers, the start was given while Patreseís stalled car was being restarted by mechanic Dave Luckett. Unsighted, Stohr jinked around another car and went straight into the back of Patrese. Fortunately Luckett suffered only a broken leg. The incident had a profound effect on Stohr and he was never the same again, although he stayed on with the team for the next eight races. The cars were not competitive and his replacements did no better that Stohr had done.

In 1982 Stohr quit the sport and set up a very successful driver training school at Misano. In the years that followed Stohr and his instructors taught thousands how to drive quickly. He is also a successful journalist and author, writing books on safe driving and even published his autobiography which related the adventures of a troubled F1 career.