Chico Godia

Full Name:
Francesco "Chico" or "Paco" Godia Sales
Born:
21st March 1921
Barcelona, Catalunya
Died:
28th November 1990 (Aged 69)
Barcelona, Catalunya
Nationality:
Spanish
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Francesco "Chico" Godia was Spain most successful Grand Prix driver before Fernando Alonso is illustrated by Autosport’s description of Chico Godia as "Spain’s most successful F1 driver" in its 1990 obituary.

Amateur racing driver

Following service as an officer in the Spanish Civil War when just 17 years old, Godia went on to become a well-to-do Barcelona businessman. He only started to race in 1946 on a whim but he failed to qualify a Scuderia Auto Spagnola Maserati 4CL for the 1948 Italian GP. He then finished the 1949 Le Mans 24 Hours in fourth position when sharing an elderly Delage D6S with Louis Gérard.

He was 10th in both the German GP (a non-championship Formula 2 event) and the Penya Rhin GP ("after a terrible race” according to William Boddy) during 1950 before making his world championship debut in the 1951 Spanish GP. He was 10th once more as his Scuderia Milano Maserati 4CLT/48 finished 10 laps behind new world champion Juan Manuel Fangio.

Formula 1 points for Maserati

Godia, who drove a Maserati in all of his 13 world championship starts, was then sixth in the 1954 Spanish GP with a works 250F. His best year was 1956 when fourth at the Nürburgring and Monza – when benefiting as others retired – to finish seventh equal in the world championship. He also won that year’s Coupe du Salon at Montlhéry although the race was marred by the death of Switzerland’s Benoît Musy.

Godia continued in Formula 1 until business pressures forced him to sell his 250F to Jo Bonnier in 1958. He then competed in national events until 1969 as another gentleman driver who enriched the sport.

He scored more world championship points than the better-known Alfonso de Portago to make Francesco "Chico" Godia Sales Spain’s most successful GP driver until Fernando Alonso arrived.