Roy Francesco Salvadori (born 12 May 1922 in Dovercourt, Essex, England, United Kingdom – died 3 June 2012 in Monte Carlo, Monaco) was a British racing driver, born in Dovercourt, Essex in the UK to Italian parents. Salvadori drove for numerous works teams, including the disappointing Aston Martin team, in a career that spanned from 1952 until 1962, totalling 47 Grand Prix starts.
Although Salvadori never managed to win a Championship Grand Prix (taking two podiums in total), the Brit was well known in the racing world, having won numerous non-Championship races, and competed in other series. But, Salvadori's greatest achievement would come in Endurance Racing, when he and team mate Carroll Shelby won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959, a victory that prompted Aston Martin into Formula One.
After a nasty crash during the 1963 edition of Le Mans, Salvadori officially retired from racing, having already called time on his Formula One career. Salvadori also became briefly involved in the Ford GT40 Programme for Le Mans, before taking over as a manager at the Cooper Racing Team in 1965, staying until 1967.
Formula One Career
Having started working life as a car dealer, Salvadori began entering minor level races for fun in 1946, before deciding to take it up more professionally in 1949. Entering a few Formula One spec races over the next few years, usually using Formula Two machinery, Salvadori entered his first World Championship race in 1952, starting his 47 Championship race career.
Salvadori's first entry came at the 1952 British Grand Prix, with the Brit starting the race in a privately run Ferrari 500 for the weekend. An impressive eighth place finish resulted from the event, the Brit battling his way up from nineteenth on the grid, before the Connaught factory team asked him to drive in several non-Championship races. The British Grand Prix would prove to be Salvadori's only World Championship appearance in 1952, although many believed that the Brit would be back in the field again.
The attention from Connaught gave Salvadori a chance at entering more World Championship races, with the Brit entering five races in the season (alongside a succession of non-Championship rounds). Unfortunately for the Brit, the season was blighted by a series of failures on his car meaning he retired from every single round of the season. Yet, away from the World Championship, Salvadori tasted victory for the first time in a Formula One level event, taking victory in the VI Madgwick Cup in September.
The Gilby Years: 1954 - 1956
Salvadori's performances, despite the limited success, saw him join up with Sid Greene's Gilby Engineering Ltd. team in 1954. Greene ran a Maserati for Greene for 1954, although the Brit was hampered by retirements in his two entries that year, before being approached for a one off drive with the factory Maserati team in the 1954 Swiss Grand Prix. Yet, the Brit did not start the race as his car was used by his team mate for the day Sergio Mantovani.
The next two seasons saw a handful of appearances in the World Championship for Salvadori, although the Brit enjoyed a fair amount of success in non-championship races. In four races between 1955 and 1956, Salvadori retired from three races, before taking eleventh in his final race for the team, the 1956 Italian Grand Prix.
Cruising Coopers: 1957 - 1958
Salvadori started the 1956 season with BRM, although he failed to qualify (for the first time in his career) for the 1957 Monaco Grand Prix. A one-off drive for Vanwall saw Salvadori retire after qualifying in sixth at the 1957 French Grand Prix, before the Brit joined the Cooper Car Company. A promising début for the team came at his home race, with Salvadori claiming his first World Championship points for fifth, although he would retire from the following two races.
1958 would prove to be the most successful season for Salvadori in Formula One, with the Brit attending all bar two of the season's races. After missing the first race in Argentina, and retiring from the second round, Salvadori kick started his season with a battling performance to finish fourth in the Dutch Grand Prix, despite starting in ninth. The Brit would then miss the Indy 500, before returning to the paddock to complete the rest of the season with Cooper.
The French and Belgian grand prix saw Salvadori struggle in qualifying, preventing him from scoring in either as the Championship headed to more familiar ground. It was at the 1958 British Grand Prix where Salvadori first stood on the podium, having started a career best third on the grid. Having run third through the entirety of the race, Salvadori was successful in fending off a late challenge from Stuart Lewis-Evans to claim third place and leap up the Championship table. He backed this with a stunning drive in the 1958 German Grand Prix, where the Brit rose from sixth on the grid to take second, a career best finish and his final visit to the podium. Salvadori only managed one more points finish that season, but ended up fourth in the Championship table at the end of the season.
Sporting Success: 1959 - 1960
Cooper dropped Salvadori at the end of the 1958 season, with the Brit moving to Aston Martin and their new Formula One programme, which would debut later that season. Salvdori, meanwhile, would start the season with High Efficiency Motors, claiming sixth at the Monaco Grand Prix, before joining up with American Carroll Shelby to début the Aston Martin DBR4 at the 1959 Dutch Grand Prix. Unfortunately for both Salvadori and Shelby, the car proved a flop as both retired, although the pair would cement their names in racing history a few weeks later, sharing an Aston Martin sports car on their way to victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The rest of 1959 saw Salvadori drive for HEM when Aston Martin opted not to race, although he would retire from his two outings with the former. Marginally more successful with the Astons, Salvadori claimed the car's first finish at the 1959 British Grand Prix, having set a stunning time in qualifying to start the race in a career best second place. He repeated his sixth place finish in Portugal, beating team mate Shelby in the Championship on finishing positions.
1960 saw another split schedule for Salvadori, although Aston Martin opted to curtail their Formula One programme before the end of the season. Again driving for HEM and Aston, Salvadori endured a dismal year, retiring from two of his three races, and failing to start the other, before leaving Aston Martin all together at the end of the season. He also failed to defend his Le Mans crown, although did finish third with rising star Jim Clark as his partner.
Final Gamble: 1961 - 1962
Without a factory backed drive for 1961, Salvadori joined the privately run Reg Parnell Racing team mid-way through the season, running under the Yeoman Credit Racing banner. Salvadori rediscovered some of his fighting form (aided by his consistent running in the British Saloon Car Championship) to claim points in two of the season's races, before coming close to a maiden victory at the season finale. Salvadori was running second, and gaining a massive amount of time each lap on race leader Innes Ireland at the 1961 United States Grand Prix, and was within sight of his country man with a few laps to go. With Salvadori gaining four seconds a lap, it seemed inevitable that he would take victory, only for his Climax engine to go up in a cloud of smoke four laps from the end, handing Ireland his maiden victory instead.
Salvadori's final season was, if anything, an awful way to end a career, as he retired from seven of the season's nine races in the new Lola Mk4. Salvadori was also resolutely beaten by team mate John Surtees, and so called time on his professional racing career at the end of the season, only continuing to race in non-Championship races and the BSCC. He would retire from racing entirely a few years later, having recovered from serious injuries sustained at the 1963 edition of Le Mans.
Managing Move: 1966 - 1967
Having retired from racing, Salvadori rejoined the Cooper Car Company to take over the management of their Formula One programme in 1966, having worked, briefly, on the Ford GT40 Programme in America. His two seasons with Cooper did revive their fortunes, finishing third in the Championship two years in a row, before Salvadori retired from all motorsport at the end of 1967 to live in Monte Carlo.
Formula One Statistical Overview
Formula One Record
Salvadori's full Formula One record is outline below, featuring entrant names and finishing position in the Championship:
|Year||Entrant||Constructor||WDC Points||WDC Pos.||Report|
|Officine Alfieri Maserati||Maserati|
|1957||Owen Racing Organisation||BRM||2||19th||Report|
|Vandervell Products Ltd||Vanwall|
|Cooper Car Company||Cooper-Climax|
|1958||Cooper Car Company||Cooper-Climax||15||4th||Report|
|1959||High Efficiency Motors||Cooper-Climax||0||NC||Report|
|David Brown Corporation||Aston Martin|
|1960||High Efficiency Motors||Cooper-Climax||0||NC||Report|
|David Brown Corportation||Aston Martin|
|1961||Yeoman Credit Racing Team||Cooper-Climax||2||17th||Report|
|1962||Bowmaker-Yeoman Racing Team||Lola-Climax||0||NC||Report|
|Front Row Starts||2|
|Distance Raced||10883 km (6762 mi)|
|Complete Formula One Results|
|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|
Images and Videos:
- 'Formula 1 racer and Le Mans winner Roy Salvadori dies', autosport.com, (Haymarket Media, 03/06/2012), http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/100114, (Accessed 30/01/2016)
- Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; no text was provided for refs named
- Alan Henry, 'Roy Salvadori obituary', guardian.co.uk, (Guardian News and Media Ltd., 06/06/2012), http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2012/jun/06/roy-salvadori, (Accessed 30/01/2016)
- 'DRIVERS: ROY SALVADORI', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2012), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/drv-salroy.html, (Accessed 30/01/2016)
- 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: UNITED STATES GP, 1961', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr102.html, (Accessed 05/01/2016)
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