Arturo Merzario_3

Arturo Merzario, posing with Marie-Jeanne.

The skinny and cheerful son of a prosperous building contractor "Little Art" made his racing reputation in small capacity sports cars with Abarth before joining the Ferrari endurance racing team in 1970. In 1972 he was promoted midseason to the Formula 1 team, celebrating his maiden outing with sixth in the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. In 1972 he distinguished himself by winning the Targa Florio road race in Sicily, sharing the victorious 312PB sports car with rally ace Sandro Munari. He remained with Maranello until the end of 1973 after which his services were dispensed with as Lauda and Regazzoni took over at the start of the following year. He then joined Frank Williams and produced some game showings, including a sixth at Kyalami and a fourth at Monza. They were Merzario's last-ever Championship points, for after struggling as a private entrant of his own March 761 in 1976 and 77, he embarked on an ill-starred venture to build his own Formula 1 special for 1978 and 1979. It was a project which virtually bankrupted Merzario and finished his Grand Prix career.