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Thirty years have passed since the last female driver in Formula One

Thirty years have passed since the last female driver in Formula One
Thirty years have passed since the last female driver in Formula One
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The fingertips are pressed against the shiny leather of the steering wheel, although it has never been a family slant. Mom and dad flirt with the cinema, let alone what they can give a damn about engines. Giovanni Amati owns numerous rooms in the capital, while Anna Maria Pancani is an actress of preclara fame. Giovanna, however, is different. Patience if someone wrinkles her nose, trying to dissuade her from her: she sinks the pedal along her very personal path.

Sincere Roman, a cloud of long wavy hair that falls on the shoulders to frame a kind face, it seems anything but a predestined of the four wheels. The passion engraved in genetics, however, is a stream that flows incessantly, following a logic that does not require justifications. The crumpled posters she strokes in her bedroom aren’t any teenager’s. No musical groups to scrutinize with dreamy eyes, while a piece of music works the room in the background. Her playlist is monotheistic: the vibrating roar of an engine.

Expectations that risk shattering before even perching in a cockpit, if the Marseillais gang decides to kidnap you to collect a pre-tax. It is 1978 and Giovanna is only nineteen years old. She is small, tense, scared. They keep her prisoner in a fetid hole for seventy-five days, before letting her go in the face of a pot-bellied ransom, worth 800 million pounds of old lire. In that dramatic time interval, however, one of those things happens that you can never expect. The leader of the organization, Daniel Neto, sexually abuses her. An execrable fact, which nevertheless serves as a trigger for an unprecedented fall in love. Stendhal’s syndrome served. Even Neto himself, hunted and captured a few days later, will pay the price. They pinch him in the middle of Via Veneto, while he is going on a date to meet Giovanna again.

The girl is shaken, but the dreams she cherishes do not involve prolonged pit stops. Once the kidnapping is filed, she sets out in search of a car that allows her to express all of her qualities. The check in the early eighties, thanks to the advice of his friend Elio De Angelis. The incipit is in Abarth formula, a stimulating gym for bones in formation. Then the big leap, the one towards Formula 3. Here the stage reflects different lights. On the track it competes for every chicane to drivers who, subsequently, will dart aboard glorious Formula 1 single-seaters.

The sparkling Olympus is the next stop. The crossroads dreamed up by destiny appears with a tarnished stable, born thirty years earlier in the industrious belly of Milton Keynes. Financially in disarray and forcibly disenchanted, the Brabham he sighs every time he squints to rethink his glorious past. In 1992, drawing on a remnant of strength, he hires two pilots. The first is Eric Van de Poele. Everything goes smoothly. However, when the team approaches the Japanese talent Akihiko Nakaya, the road suddenly rears up. The FIA ​​rejects the driver’s Super License application to the sender and leaves the British at the stake.


Pressed by a watch ready to ring on gong from one moment to the next, Brabham has a handful of days to dodge the technical and media slaughter. So, on her second seat, Giovanna takes a seat: equipped with the necessary experience, she rises to the honorable rank of second woman in Formula One, since the days of Desire Wilson. Those who rub their hands for a balmy happy ending are destined, however, to swallow generous spans of frustration. Amati tries but she fails to scratch the intangible curtain that separates her from the rest of the circus.

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On the circuits of Kyalami, Mexico City and Interlagos the qualification becomes a mirage, while the detachment from those who tear the pole position assumes embarrassing proportions. A failure son of multiple fathers. The mechanical weaves of the British team emit fatal clangs, often forcing it into the pits. The total lack of tests with the car anesthetizes a feeling that never breaks. Finished for the first time in the royal Formula chopper, Giovanna denounces technical and charismatic limits that she does not have time to overcome. The credits roll out with the same quick pace with which she was pressed on the track.

Amati, with those fingertips, he squeezed a frayed vine swinging over it a jungle of male specimens only. That habitat gobbled it up quickly. Thirty years instead, putting themselves sideways, have only faded the memory of the last woman who dared to crack dogmas carved in stone.

The article is in Italian

Tags: years passed female driver Formula

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