He is currently the Vice President of N.Technology, Alfa Romeo's Racing Division.
Non-Formula One Racing Career
1941-1963: Early Life
Andrea Lodovico de Adamich was born in Trieste, Italy. The Adamich family was one of the most well known aristocratic Italian dynasties and wielded great influential power within Fiume during the 1700's and 1800's. However the family had lost most of its power when Fiume was annexed from Italy by Marshall Tito's Croatian regime.
The Adamich family fled to Trieste to rebuild their business foundations. On the 3rd October 1941, Andrea was born and was thus named after Andrea Ludovico de Adamich, the great politician and entrepreneur whom had started the De Adamich dynasty.
Nearing the conclusion of the Second World War in 1945, the De Adamich family were forced to flee Trieste to return to their native Italy as the Tito regime had began a purge of its Italian citizens. Whilst the Adamich family were lucky to survive, much of their vast wealth of the past had been lost. Andrea with his mother was lucky to survive in fleeing to his grandparents home in Vicenza.
As was typical of his family, De Adamich, was highly educated and had a thirst for knowledge. He was described as one whom enjoyed the competitive nature of sport and had a keen interest in tennis and skiing as he was growing up. Having left school, the young De Adamich was studying Law at University when his mother decided to purchase him a Triumph TR3A sportscar. The 21 year old De Adamich, however was not content to simply use his expensive new car as a simple road car and decided to enter the car into local hillclimb races.
Immediately De Adamich was seen as a unique entity to the other races to which he noted "I looked different from the others. I was studying law and wore glasses." De Adamich, however was immediately proving himself on the racing scene. He had won a few races, beating the highly successful Porsche cars on numerous occasions and immediately was identified as a strong wet weather driver. De Adamich noted "it was always the results I wanted, not just the taking part."
However eventually he crashed the car and the Triumph was completely written off. His mother was furious, however De Adamich was not dissuaded from the sport. For a €1000 he purchased a Lola MK5 and decided to advance his motorsport career into the Italian Formula Junior category.
1963: Italian Formula Junior
The first race that De Adamich completed in Formula Junior at Vallelunga also marked the first appearance of Jochen Rindt competing in a single seater racing car. De Adamich was only able to afford an old second-hand Ford engine that was supplied to him by Rindt's friend, Bardi Barry.
De Adamich and Rindt became close friends and would remain so as their respective motor racing careers developed. Despite his old engine, De Adamich competed consistently in the Italian Formula Junior championship where he would usually finish the races in a mid-tier placing.
At the end of the season, De Adamich had placed eighth in the championship. Aside from Rindt, notable racing rivals of De Adamich included Jo Schlesser, Paddy Driver, Silvio Moser, Giacomo Russo and Ernesto Brambilla.
1964-1965: Italian Formula Three
At the end of the season he had been talent spotted by Mario Angiolini whom offered him a drive in the Italian F3 championship for his Jolly Club racing team. De Adamich accepted the drive to which he was expecting a much more competitive season as his Lola MK5 was now equipped with a much better Ford engine being operated by the Pedrazzani brothers.
De Adamich performed admirably in the championship, scoring a number of podiums throughout 1964. However the season was ultimately dominated by Giacomo Russo. Nonetheless, De Adamich had performed well against a field that include Silvio Moser, Ernesto Brambilla, Piers Courage, Frank Gardner, Paul Hawkins, Jonathan Williams and Frank Williams.
For 1965, he remained with the Jolly Club team in Formula Three. He started the season competitively, however repeated break downs of his Lola chassis was hindering his chances in the championship. Thereafter, he upgraded to a Brabham BT15 which saw him then go on to dominate the season. De Adamich was crowned the champion and was thereafter presented the champion's laurels by Autodelta, the racing team of Alfa Romeo.
1964-1974: Alfa Romeo
Aside from his commitments in Formula Three, De Adamich signed to race an Alfa Romeo Giulia in both sportscars and Italian Touring Cars for the Jolly Club team. His highlight of 1964 was scoring a fifth place in the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. At the start of 1965, he had further success with the team by winning the 4 Hours of Monza.
His success in driving a privateer Alfa Romeo had gained the attention of Carlo Chiti whom ran the works Alfa Romeo squad in sportscars and touring cars. Considered to be one of the best up and coming Italian racers, De Adamich signed to be a full-time works driver for Alfa Romeo in 1965. De Adamich was well pleased as he now had a method to "earn some money to pay for single seaters".
Although he was experiencing success in F3, his sportscar and touring car ventures were much more tedious in 1965. The Alfa Romeo Giulio regularly broke down and on occasions it was also not uncommon to see De Adamich crash out of a race. Nonetheless, De Adamich was enjoying his racing, calling the Alfa Romeo team a "family".
Having completed Formula Three, De Adamich focussed his efforts in sportscars and touring cars for 1966. Unlike the previous year, 1966 would turn out to be much more prosperous for both De Adamich and his team. He once again started the season with victory in the 4 Hours of Monza before then taking a third place in the 4 Hours of Sebring.
Later on in the season he would have success in winning the 6 Hours of Nurburgring and the 500km of Snetterton. He would then take further wins at Zolder and Zandvoort which allowed him to take a dominant win in the 1966 European Touring Car Championship.
His recent success had seen him get a lot of recognition within Italy and he was being considered as one of the future great Formula One drivers. De Adamich became the first racing driver to be personally sponsored by Marlboro in 1966. In later years, the cigarette brand would expand out to sponsor a great many more racing drivers.
1967-1973: Formula Two
De Adamich had begun his career in Formula Two during the middle of the 1967 season. He ran two races for the works Lola outfit to where he worked with John Surtees for the first time in being his teammate. De Adamich did not distinguish himself, however shortly after his first F2 races, De Adamich was signed as a Ferrari driver for both F1 and F2 for 1968.
His campaign in both F1 and F2 was cut short due to his broken neck sustained at a non-championship Formula One round at Brands Hatch. His mistake had lost a lot of credibility within Maranello, however he returned to the team at the end of the season for F2.
His first race back after his accident was at Vallelunga where he performed well to finish second. However he was notably beaten by his teammate, Ernesto Brambilla. He finished the season in the Temporada Argentina, a mini-F2 championship held in Argentina throughout December. De Adamich once again finished second behind Brambilla in the opening round, however wins in the second and third rounds allowed him to win the championship. De Adamich, notably beating Jochen Rindt to take victory in the series.
Nonetheless, he departed Ferrari at the end of the season and his return to sports cars had meant he had a much reduced single seater presence for 1969. De Adamich made a lone appearance in F2 at the end of the season at Vallelunga when he had an undistinguished seventh place finishing.
1967-1973: Formula One Career
De Adamich's success in becoming the 1965 Italian Formula Three Champion, the 1966 European Touring Car Champion and becoming the first Marlboro sponsored racing driver had garnered the attention of Enzo Ferrari. The Italian press were considering him to be one of their great star racing driver's of the future. However privately, De Adamich, although competitive, had no real desire to race in Formula One.
Nonetheless, he was convinced to discuss a future with Enzo Ferrari in the top echelon of motorsport. De Adamich had agreed to do a full season of Formula One for Ferrari in 1968 where he was expected to be the next Italian great following the death of Lorenzo Bandini.
Nonetheless, De Adamich had minimal running in single seaters since his F3 championship win. He had only competed in two races with Lola in Formula Two without success. De Adamich was uncertain of being able to deal with the pressure of being the next Italian Formula One star.
Although he ran faster than teammate, Chris Amon's pole time at his first test with the team in Monza, De Adamich noted that he "didn't feel like a Ferrari driver." At the end of 1967, his first race for the team was in the non-championship, Spanish Grand Prix. His first race saw him run well in fourth position before a puncture dropped him two laps behind eventual winner, Jim Clark.
De Adamich was running well at Vallelunga in pre-season testing for the 1968 season. However he noted, "Mauro Forghieri treated me as though I'd come from another big Formula 1 team, but I was very inexperienced and he didn't do much to help me develop. He was more interested in Amon and Ickx, and made that very clear."
However at his first championship race at the South African Grand Prix, De Adamich completed the impressive feat of outqualifying both his teammates, Amon and Ickx. In the race, he battled with Dan Gurney's Eagle to which he eventually won. He ran consistently in fifth position before the thirteenth lap where he spun on oil and crashed into the barriers.
The next race at Brands Hatch for the non-championship Race of Champions, De Adamich had an enormous accident where he lost control of the car at Paddock Bend where he broke two bones in his neck. Commenting on the accident he stated "It could have been very serious, much worse than it was. I just lost the car under braking for Paddock Bend, a result of my inexperience. I hit the wall on the outside, right next to the marshalling post. That was lucky because the car caught fire, but they got to me very quickly. I didn't know at the time, but I had broken two bones in my neck. The doctors said I was OK, but I wasn't. Back in Italy they discovered the fractures and I was in plaster for months, drinking through a straw. It was very difficult to eat and it was a bad time — I missed so many races. The authorities tried to take my licence away."
He had been deemed to have caused a highly avoidable accident which had placed his life in jeopardy to which he lost his Italian Formula One license. However De Adamich regained his racing license by applying for a Swiss license to which he raced for the remainder of his career.
Ferrari were not impressed with his antics and were no longer interested in pursuing his interests for the 1969 season. However he recovered enough to complete the final races involved in his 1968 contract. He was unable to return to Formula One, however he performed well in Formula Two with the team at the end of the year. Speaking of his ventures with Ferrari he noted "I didn't feel emotionally attached to Ferrari. It sounds strange, but really it didn't mean that much to me. I'd always felt a lot more comfortable at Alfa Romeo, which was much more like a family."
With his partnership with Ferrari coming to an end, De Adamich had become disillusioned from Formula One. However, he would retain an interest in single seaters, having been approached by John Surtees to race for him in his newly established Formula 5000 team.
After a long and prosperous relationship with Alfa Romeo in ETCC, De Adamich decided to give up his Touring Car career and start a full time career in F1. For 1970, De Adamich joined the second works McLaren team where the drive was secured by the teams engine supplier and long time partners Alfa Romeo. Adamich partnered fellow Italian and Alfa Romeo sponser Nanni Galli at the McLaren Team 2. However it was a dismal year and De Adamich only made it to 9 of the 13 grand prixs and only 4 of which he qualified, and out of those he only finished twice in very lowly positions. It was a very dismal first year in Formula One for De Adamich and at the end of the year him, Galli and Alfa left the team.
For 1971 De Adamich and Galli joined the March Team 2 Squad with Alfa supplying the engines. Things were a bit better for him this year and he managed to qualify for all the races he entered however poor reliability hampered any possible points finishes.
For 1972 De Adamich departed from Alfa Romeo after a seven year partnership when former World Champion, recently retired and Team Principal of the Surtees F1 Team John Surtees picked De Adamich as part of the works Surtees team squad. De Adamich had an enjoyable year at Surtees where he got his first points at the Spanish Grand Prix where he finished fourth however he failed to score again that season and mainly retired or finished in low key positions throughout the season.
Although being contracted at Surtees for 1973 and participating in pre-season testing for the team throughout the year, De Adamich failed to get on well and had many arguments with the team throughout the course of the year. When the season got under way and the team failed to provide him with a car for the opening races, and De Adamich left the team in an outrage.
Luckily however De Adamich managed to secure a drive for 1973 with the Brabham team as third driver. He scored another fourth place that year, this time at Belgium and just missed out on a points finish at Monaco the race after. The season looked to be his strongest yet, however at the British Grand Prix, De Adamich was involved in a nine car pile-up at the start of the race. De Adamich's car rolled multiple times and he suffered a badly injured leg. Although the crash caused much destruction, he was the only driver hurt in the incident and the crash kept him out of the cockpit for the rest of the season. Once he had recovered from his injuries at the start of 1974, Brabham Team Principal Bernie Ecclestone offered him a drive once again, however he declined and he also decided to retire permanently from racing at the start of the year aged 34.
Post-Racing Formula One Career
Although his race driver duties were now over his racing activities were not. De Adamich returned to Alfa Romeo and ETCC were he worked for the car company's racing division N.Technology as a engine designer. He worked for the team in this job until 1981 (although he continued with N.Technology for many years as a consultant) where he moved to becoming a famed and respected Italian motorsport journalist and in 1985 became the host on the Formula One Italian Commentry on Italia 1, he continued this role until 1997 along with journalism and since 1998 to present he has run the show Grand Prix, still remaining with Italia 1. In 2004 he was elected the Vice-President of N.Technology in Alfa Romeo and continues this role today.
Formula One Statistical Overview
F1 Career Record
Note: Entries in non-championship races are denoted in italics.
|Year||Entrant||Team||WDC Points||WDC Pos.||Report|
|1967||Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC||Ferrari||Non-championship only|
|1968||Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC||Ferrari||0||NC||Report|
|1969||T.S. Research & Developments Ltd.||Surtees-Chevrolet||Non-championship only|
|1970||Bruce McLaren Motor Racing||McLaren-Alfa Romeo||0||NC||Report|
|1971||STP March||March-Alfa Romeo||0||NC||Report|
|1972||Ceramica Pagnossin Team Surtees||Surtees-Ford Cosworth||3||17th||Report|
|1973||Ceramica Pagnossion Team Surtees||Surtees-Ford Cosworth||3||16th||Report|
|Ceramica Pagnossin MRD||Brabham-Ford Cosworth|
|Front Row Starts||0|
|Distance Raced||6058 km (3764 mi)|
|Complete Formula One Results|
|1969||Did not compete|
|3rd||DNQ||Did not qualify|
|5th||Points finish||DNPQ||Did not pre-qualify|
|14th||Non-points finish||TD||Test driver|
|Italics||Scored point(s) for Fastest Lap||DNS||Did not start|
|18th†||Classified finish (retired with >90% race distance)||NC||Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)|
|4thP||Qualified for pole position||[+] More Symbols|
|v·d·e||Nominate this page for Featured Article|