1991 BELGIAN GRAND PRIX
Ivan Capelli, posing with Carlos Ghys.
Ivan Capelli began racing karts in 1978, before moving straight into the Italian Formula 3 Championship in 1982 with a March run by Cesare Gariboldi. The following year, with the Coloni team, he dominated the Italian Championship with 9 victories, and moved with Coloni into the European series, which he also won, in 1984 despite controversy when one of the team's airboxes was found to be illegal.
In 1985 he entered the European Formula 3000 Championship with a Genoa Racing March and won a race. The same year he made his F1 debut with Tyrrell, replacing Stefan Bellof. He finished fourth in Australia. In 1986 he concentrated on Formula 3000 and won the title, while also racing for BMW in the European Touring Car Championship. He also raced a couple of times in F1 with the AGS team.
In 1987 he entered F1 full-time with the Leyton House March Team, while also continuing to race BMW touring cars for the Schnitzer team and when he took his Leyton House-Judd to second place behind Alain Prost's McLaren-Honda in the 1988 Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril, it was a performance which marked out the Italian as one of the brightest stars of his generation.
Disappointingly, over the next three seasons with the same team, he had only a handful of opportunities to remind observers that he was still capable of such a performance. Even so, it did not prevent him being recruited into the works Ferrari team from the start of the 1992 season. Sadly, there were to be no correspondingly great moments awaiting for Capelli at Ferrari. The car was uncompetitive and broke his spirit. After two dismal outings for the Jordan team at the start of 1993 his Formula 1 career was over although he is a regular TV commentator at F1 races.