Giorgio Francia

Born:
8th November 1947 (Age 72)
San Giorgio di Piano, Emilia-Romagna
Nationality:
Italian
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

A mere footnote in the story of Formula 1, Giorgio Francia was a Formula 3 champion who won races in the World Sportscar Championship, albeit at a low ebb for the series.

Success in Formula 3 and F2

Having raced cars since 1969, Francia came to the fore competing in F3 during the early 1970s. Fourth at Monaco in 1973 and 1974, he completed that latter campaign by winning the Polifac-sponsored German F3 Championship with Scuderia Mirabella’s March 743-Toyota.

Formula 2 followed in 1975 with Osella and he was fourth on his debut at Estoril. He finished in the points on another six occasions and was equal seventh in the 1975 standings. Francia defected to Pino Trivellato’s Chevron B35-BMW after a difficult start to 1976 but a single point was scant return from a disappointing season.

Alfa Romeo driver and F1 opportunity

His enduring partnership with Alfa Romeo began in 1977. He was fourth in the Spa 24 Hours and was entered for that year’s Italian Grand Prix in a third Brabham BT45B-Alfa Romeo at the engine supplier’s behest. He did a few not too quick laps in first practice before Hans-Joachim Stuck needed a replacement chassis and Francia’s weekend was over.

Race wins and Formula 1 for Osella

Continuing with Osella in 1978, Francia won twice in European sports cars and added a surprise World Sportscar Championship success in the 1979 Vallelunga Six Hours when sharing with Lella Lombardi. He won a World Championship race in 1980 and 1981 for Osella but sports cars were none too competitive at the time.

Francia also had a second F1 opportunity when Enzo Osella invited him to replace Piercarlo Ghinzani for the 1981 Spanish GP. But he was slowest of the 30 drivers present and failed to qualify again.

The 1982 Monza 1000Kms was his final victory in the World Endurance Championship when sharing a Rondeau M382C-Ford with Henri Pescarolo and Jean Rondeau. Much of the decade was spent racing a works Alfa Romeo GTV6 in the European Touring Car Championship. Runner-up in the 1988, 1991 and 1992 Italian Touring Car Championship, his Osella PA16-Alfa Romeo won the national sports car title in 1991. He retired from racing after later spells in the DTM and Spanish touring cars. Francia continues to work for Alfa Romeo as an instructor.

Championship seasons