Saturday, July 6, 2019

Luigi Musso Fatally Injured At Reims, France - July 6, 1958

July 28, 1924 - July 6, 1958
Luigi Musso
Born in Rome, Italy.
Musso began his racing career driving sports cars before making his début on the Formula One circuit on January 17, 1954, driving a Maserati. In 1954 he won the Coppa Acerbo, a non-championship Formula One race. At Zandvoort, in the 1955 Dutch Grand Prix, Musso placed third in a Maserati. At the end of the 1955 Formula 1 season he switched to Ferrari, entering into a fierce rivalry with Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins, which boosted the performance of the team, but also encouraged greater risk-taking.

 Musso was fatally injured in an accident during the 1958 French Grand Prix at Reims, France when his Ferrari hurtled off the course on the 10th lap of the 50 lap race. Running wide at the tricky Gueux Curve while chasing the leader, fellow Ferrari driver Mike Hawthorn, Musso's Ferrari struck a ditch and somersaulted. Musso was airlifted to hospital with critical head injuries and died later that day. Hawthorn went on to win the race.

Many years after Musso's death, Fiamma Breschi, Musso's girlfriend at the time of his death, revealed the nature of Musso's rivalry with fellow team Ferrari drivers Mike Hawthorn and Collins in a television documentary, The Secret Life of Enzo Ferrari. Breschi recalled that the antagonism between the Musso and the two English drivers, Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins, encouraged all three to take more risks:

"The Englishmen (Hawthorn and Collins) had an agreement," she says. "Whichever of them won, they would share the winnings equally. It was the two of them against Luigi, who was not part of the agreement. Strength comes in numbers, and they were united against him. This antagonism was actually favourable rather than damaging to Ferrari. The faster the drivers went, the more likely it was that a Ferrari would win." Breschi related that at the time of his death, Musso was in debt, and thus winning the lucrative French Grand Prix, traditionally the largest monetary prize of the season, was all-important to him.

Within a year Musso's death, Collins and Hawthorn were also dead.

During his F1 career, Luigi Musso won one World Championship Grand Prix, achieved 7 podiums, and scored a total of 44 championship points.

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