Felice Bonetto

Born:
9th June 1903
Manerbio, Lombardy
Died:
21st November 1953 (Aged 50)
Silao, Guanajuato (MEX), Carrera Panamericana
Nationality:
Italian
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

This stocky, pipe-smoking 50-year-old became the fifth oldest driver to score world championship points when he finished fourth in the 1953 Swiss Grand Prix. A fearless and sometimes reckless racer, victory in the previous year’s Targa Florio was definitely Felice Bonetto’s career highlight.

Long racing career

Bonetto started racing bikes in 1926 and switched to cars five years later, the Italian competing in national events for the rest of the 1930s. He drove a Cisitalia after the war before joining Enzo Ferrari’s new marque. A retiree from the 1949 Italian GP, he finished second in that year’s Mille Miglia with a Ferrari 166MM.

Bonetto drove Scuderia Milano’s Maserati 4CLT/50 during 1950 and he was fifth on his world championship debut in the Swiss GP. He led the Mille Miglia with a private Alfa Romeo and was invited to join the all-conquering works team for 1951. He started four GPs that year and shared the third-placed Alfa Romeo 159 in Italy with Giuseppe Farina. Fourth in Britain and fifth in Spain – Bonetto was seventh in the 1951 World Championship.

A move to Lancia for 1952 included victory in the Targa Florio, second in the Giro di Sicilia and third in the Mille Miglia. He was also a works Maserati driver in single-seaters at the time and José Froilán González took over his Maserati A6SSG to finish third in the 1953 Dutch GP.

The season ended with Mexico’s Carrera Panamericana and Bonetto’s Lancia D24 won the first stage. He was still leading when he crashed into a house in Silao and was killed instantly.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1953 F1 World Championship
Officine Alfieri Maserati
7 0 1 0
0% win rate
9th 6.5
1953 World Sportscar Championship
Scuderia Lancia
2 0 1 0 4
1952 F1 World Championship
Officine Alfieri Maserati
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 2
1951 F1 World Championship
Alfa Corse
4 0 1 0
0% win rate
8th 7
1950 F1 World Championship
Scuderia Milano
2 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate
19th 2