campari

Giuseppe Campari

Born
8th June 1892 (Died age 41) - Fanfullo, Lodi, Lombardy
Died
10th September 1933 - Monza, Lombardy - Monza GP
Nationality
Italian
Italian
Years in Database
13
Recent Race
Starts
20 (3)
Wins
8
Poles
3
Podiums
13

It is the nature of Grand Prix racing that its history is laced with some tragic days. But few have been as bad as September 10 1933 when three leading drivers lost their lives at Monza. The barrel-chested Giuseppe Campari was racing in Italy for the final time before retiring and was feted all day. He suffered the first accident of his 20-year career that day and paid the ultimate price.

Background and early racing career 

Cavaliere Giuseppe Campari had three main passions in life: opera, fine cuisine and motor racing. He joined ALFA as an apprentice and soon joined its competition department. 1914 was his debut season with the four-cylinder 40/60hp – Campari retiring from the Targa Florio but was fourth in the Coppa Florio.

ALFA was taken over by Nicola Romeo during World War I and emerged as Alfa Romeo. Campari gave the new marque its first victory when his Alfa Romeo 40/60hp won the 1920 Circuito di Mugello after Carlo Masetti’s Fiat crashed out.

Third on the 1921 Targa Florio, Campari won again at Mugello despite lengthy repairs brought on by banging wheels with Alfieri Maserati’s Isotta-Franschini. But hopes of a Mugello hat-trick in 1922 were dashed when he collided with Masetti with both cars eliminated.

Grand Prix winner on his debut 

Alfa Romeo introduced the new P1 at the 1923 Italian GP but Campari’s GP debut was thwarted when team-mate Ugo Sivocci was killed in practice and the team withdrew as a mark of respect. So his first such race was the 1924 French GP at Lyon with Campari’s Alfa Romeo P2 starting on the fourth row of the grid. He was trading the lead with team-mate Antonio Ascari by half distance before his colleague retired. That left Campari to win on his GP debut after seven hours of racing – his prize being a huge sausage!

Campari’s position within the team was further cemented by finishing third in an Alfa Romeo 1-2-3 at the 1924 Italian GP. Second in the following year’s Belgian GP (only he and Ascari finished at Spa-Francorchamps), the team-mates were again leading at Montlhéry before Ascari suffered a fatal accident. So Campari was withdrawn from the lead by a team in mourning.

Marriage and further racing success 

He married opera singer Lina Cavalleri and Campari was now also singing tenor – surely his was a unique combination of careers? His rich vein of racing form included victories in the Mille Miglia (1928 and 1929), Pescara’s Coppa Acerbo (1927 and 1928) and class success in the 1928 Targa Florio when second overall.

Campari sold his faithful Alfa Romeo P2 to Achille Varzi in 1928 and they combined to finish second in that year’s Italian GP. He was among the continental drivers to travel to Ireland for the 1929 Irish GP in Dublin and Tourist Trophy near Belfast. The former race ended in hospital when he was hit in the eye by a flying stone but he finished second to Rudolf Caracciola on the famous Ards course.

Italian Grand Prix victory 

With GPs 10 hours long in 1931, the Italian GP was run in May to maximise Monza’s daylight. Campari shared a new Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 with Tazio Nuvolari and battled Varzi’s Bugatti T51 early on. The Italians then cruised to an impressive debut win for the 8C-2300 (thereafter nicknamed the Alfa Romeo “Monza”) after the French car retired.

Campari and Borzacchini finished second in the French GP despite a 15-minute delay to rectify brake problems and Campari led the fledgling European Championship with just Spa remaining. However, his car and title hopes were destroyed by fire during the Belgian GP. Campari finished a fine 1931 with victory in the Coppa Acerbo in the twin-engine Alfa Romeo Tipo-A.

Campari’s final season 

His final year in the sport would be 1933 and he defected to Maserati after three decades with Alfa Romeo. The 40-year-old led his debut for the marque in Tripoli only to retire but scored a controversial farewell victory in the French GP at Montlhéry – passing Philippe Etancelin’s clutch-less Alfa Romeo on the last lap. Campari had been pushed away from a late pitstop by three rather than the permitted two mechanics. However, rather than be disqualified, he was fined 1000 francs.
That was his only victory in a Maserati for he was back in Alfa Romeo’s new Tipo-B “P3” by the end of the year. Monza and tragedy was next however. Campari against Borzacchini was the highlight of heat two of the Monza GP but both lost control on oil on the South turn. On a track already rendered dangerous by light rain, Campari crashed over the banking to his death and Borzacchini was also killed taking avoiding action. The sombre mood deepened when Count Czaikowski became the third fatality of the day in the final.

Championship Seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points Results

1925

World Championship

Alfa Corse

3

0

2

0

U

0

Non Championship Races

Title Date Circuit Laps Position

1933 Italian Grand Prix

10/09/1933

Monza

50

DNS

1933 French Grand Prix

11/06/1933

Montlhery

40

1

1933 Acerbo Cup

13/08/1933

Pescara

12

R

1932 Monaco Grand Prix

17/04/1932

Monte Carlo

100

10

1932 Italian Grand Prix

05/06/1932

Monza

83

4

1931 Le Mans 24 Hours

13/06/1931

Le Mans

183

DNS

1931 Italian Grand Prix

24/05/1931

Monza

155

1

1931 French Grand Prix

21/06/1931

Montlhery

101

2

1931 Belgian Grand Prix

12/07/1931

Spa-Francorchamps

88

R

1931 Acerbo Cup

16/08/1931

Pescara

12

1

1930 Monza Grand Prix

07/09/1930

Monza

35

R

1928 Italian Grand Prix

09/09/1928

Monza

60

2

1928 Acerbo Cup

04/08/1928

Pescara

20

1

1927 Acerbo Cup

06/08/1927

Pescara

20

1

1924 Italian Grand Prix

19/10/1924

Monza

80

3

1924 French Grand Prix

03/08/1924

Lyon-Givors

35

1

1924 Acerbo Cup

13/07/1924

Pescara

10

R

1923 Italian Grand Prix

09/09/1923

Monza

80

DNS

1921 Mugello Circuit

24/07/1921

Mugello Circuit

6

1

1920 Mugello Circuit

13/06/1920

Mugello Circuit

6

1

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