DRIVERS: ALESSANDRO NANNINI

Name: Alessandro Nannini
Nationality: Italy
Date of birth: July 7, 1959 - Siena

Alessandro "Sandro" Nannini came from a remarkable family in the town of Siena. His father had made a lot of money with the family baking business and while Sandro went motor racing, his sister Gianna embarked on a singing career. He became a Grand Prix winner and she became one of Italy's top rock singers.

Nannini's taste for speed began with rallying in the late 1970s when he competed in a Citroen Dyane. Having learned the basics Nannini bought a Lancia Stratos in 1980 before deciding to switch to open-wheeler racing and moving into Formula 2 in 1982 with the Minardi team. He remained with Minardi until the end of the 1987 season. Initially he was in the European Formula 2 series as the team mate to another wealthy youngster Paolo Barilla. He finished his first F2 race in fifth place and ended the year with a second place at Misano. The 1983 and 1984 seasons confirmed his promise but did not give any major results. At the start of 1985 Minardi entered F1 but Nannini was refused a superlicence and had to wait in the new Formula 3000.

Nannini finally made his F1 debut in 1986 and by the end of 1987 had done enough to be hired to drive for Benetton as team mate to Thierry Boutsen. In the autumn of 1989 Sandro was awarded victory in the Japanese Grand Prix after Ayrton Senna was excluded after the famous Senna-Prost collision. He was on his way to victory in Hungary the following year when Senna pushed him off the road.

A few weeks later he was the victim of a helicopter accident in the grounds of the Nannini Family villa near Siena. He survived but lost one hand, sliced off at the forearm. Thanks to amazing micro-surgery the limb was reattached, but Sandro's Formula 1 days were over although he returned to drive touring cars between 1992 and 1996 as a factory Alfa Romeo driver.

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