Piero Carini, a third fatal return to Ferrari



Piero Carini was born on March 6, 1921 in Genoa. The Ligurian will become one of the few drivers to have worn the suits of the main Italian teams, Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo Lancia and Fiat. Precisely with the Piedmontese team, on June 1, 1947, in Vercelli, Carini will make his debut in the racing world with one of the sports cars in which he will compete for most of his career. The debut is not happy, given that Carini is forced to retire, and he does not reach the finish line even two weeks later in Vigevano.


Stopped for the whole of 1948, Carini returned to his car the following season, accepting Maserati's proposal to compete in the Formula 1 Sanremo Grand Prix. Piero proved to have the qualities to be competitive on the track too, passing under the checkered flag in seventh position.


Piero, after a good debut in the circus, also disputes one of the most difficult and fascinating races in the world, the Mille Miglia, always with the House of the Trident. Unfortunately, even on this occasion he fails to reach the finish line, due to a retirement.


Three hundred and sixty-five days pass, and Piero takes his revenge and gets his first place at the Mille Miglia, finishing twenty-fifth. Despite the slight step back to the Tuscan Cup at the wheel of the Lancia-Aprila, where he is ranked 39th, the Italian driver finds even more confidence in his means for the rest of the season.


In fact, Carini, in the first race he disputes in Europe with Osca, conquers the first podium of his career, finishing in second place one minute and four seconds behind Felice Bonetto's Alfa on the Porto circuit.


On his return to Italy, following his retirement from the Gold Cup of the Dolomites, Piero redeems himself by winning fourth place at the Senigallia circuit, again with the Romagna team, and closes the 1950 season with a good placement on the Vila Real circuit.


Piero also seems to have a good start in 1951, making his debut with the Osca at the Coppo d'Oro di Sicilia obtaining a good sixth place, but when he disputes the Giro di Sicilia and Mille Miglia with Maserati and Lancia Aurelia, he collects a retirement and in the second sporting event he gets worse the result of the year before coming twenty-sixth.


Carini achieves his best result of the season when he returns to drive for Osca at the Porto Circuit, where despite failing to get on the podium as in 1950 he comes fifth, a performance that will convince Ferrari to sign him.


The Italian, who made his debut in the Coppa Real with the team from Maranello at the end of 1951, at the beginning of the following season, after the sixteenth place in the Tour of Sicilia, is third in the Coppa d'Oro di Sicilia, winning the first podium in Ferrari.


The great appointment of his first part of the season is the Mille Miglia, where he improves his 1950 placement, finishing twenty-third together with Bianchi, on an Alfa 1900. This performance convinces Ferrari's customer team, Scuderia Marzotto, to let him race in the Monaco Grand Prix.


His race didn't last long, as he was forced to retire on lap thirteenth due to an accident. In the following months Piero will race only with the team from Maranello also with sports cars, winning a fifth place on the Porto Circuit.


Despite not being able to bring the car to the finish in the Principality, at the beginning of July Piero Carini made his debut in Formula 1, in the French Grand Prix. The Ligurian driver, after having set the penultimate time in qualifying, one second and seven tenths behind his teammate Comotti, is forced to retire due to an engine problem accused during the second lap.


On August 3, 1951, on the Nurburgring circuit, the Italian competed both with touring cars and in Formula 1. But if with the Ferrari 340 America he gained a good sixth position, in the German Grand Prix, after the twenty-sixth time in qualifying, a new reliability problem - this time in the braking system - brings him down from the 166 F2 on lap 27.


The season did not end in a positive way: paired with Mancini, he collected another retreat at the 12 Hours of Pescara, and in the following months the choice of the Scuderia di Marzotto to leave the circus made him lose the opportunity to continue racing in Formula 1.


In 1953 Piero returned to compete only in sports cars, aboard Alfa Romeo, and the results were not long in coming. In fact, at the Tour of Sicilia he climbs for the first time on the podium paired with Artesani, finishing third.


He fails to repeat himself instead at the Mille Miglia, in which he is forced to retire, but redeems himself quickly, winning two fifth places in the Trofeo Sardo and the Coppa di Toscana. Given the good performances in the first races, Alfa Romeo decides to make his debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he returns for the first time after the end of the Second World War.


Paired with Sanesi, Carini starts strong, and in the first part of the race he is third, but the dream of the two Alfa drivers to get on the podium ends during the night, when the suspension of car number twenty-one breaks, and the two Italians are forced to retire.

Even in the races following the French race they do not go well, and in the Tour of Umbria and the Dolomiti Gold Cup he only gets a twenty-second and nineteenth place. The Ligurian returns to the podium when he returns to the wheel of a Ferrari at the Senigallia Circuit, finishing third as in Sicily.


Subsequently, Piero runs for another of his former team, the Osca, at the 1000 kilometers of the Nurburgring, where he arrives seventh, a short time later he receives an unexpected call: in fact, the team from Maranello offers him to compete in the Italian Grand Prix in Formula 1, bringing the 553 F2 Squalo to its debut.



On his return after more than a year, the Italian is the slowest driver of the Prancing Horse cars in qualifying, setting the twentieth fastest time. In the race, the goal of crossing the finish line in the circus for the first time ends in the twentieth lap, due to the failure of the Ferrari engine. This will be Piero Carini’s last race in Formula 1.


But, as had often already happened, yet another disappointment is disposed of with Alfa Romeo, with which he wins second place in the Sant Ambroeus Cup, and then closes the season with Ferrari, with which he arrives seventh at the 12 Hours of Casablanca.


In the following season, Carini will mainly race with Alfa Romeo. Making his debut at the Tour of Sicilia with the 1900, the Ligurian driver is second, while he closes the Tuscan Cup in seventh place, paired with Artesani.


These races will be used to make the general tests in view of the Mille Miglia: Piero, in the most important race in Italy, where he has been trying to get a great performance for years, finally manages to get a good result.


Always together with Artesani, Carini's Alfa Romeo is the first of his team at the finish line, with the eighth-place finish, one hour and twenty-five seconds behind the winner Alberto Ascari. Piero, also thanks to this result, wears the Prancing Horse suit again at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in which he will be the reserve driver in the edition in which Ferrari returns to victory after five years.


Later in the season, Piero obtained other good placings, coming ninth in the Gold Cup of the Dolomites, fourth in the 10 Hours of Messina and in the Inter Europe Cup, eighth in the Giro d’Italia, and twentieth at the Carrera Panamericana.


In 1955, with Ferrari, the Ligurian driver will be the protagonist of one of his best years of his career. After retiring at the Agadir Grand Prix, five years after his victory at the Vila Real, he climbs back to the top step of the podium at the 2 Hours of Dakar.


Carini hopes to repeat himself at the Mille Miglia, but the Ferrari 750 Monza forces him to retire, as in 1949 and 1953. The regret does not last long: in fact, seven days later he wins his second seasonal success at the Lombardy Cup.


After failing to reach the finish line at the Bari Grand Prix, Supercortemaggiore and at the Porto Circuit, he again overcomes the moment of difficulty and lack of results by climbing on the podium for the third time, and finishing second in the Giro di Calabria. Piero finished the year by finishing seventh at the Targa Florio, after returning to the wheel of the Osca, and fourth at the Venezuelan Grand Prix in the last race of the season with the Maranello team. At the beginning of 1956, Piero Carini will climb back into the seats of Alfa Romeo and Maserati.


With the Quadrifoglio, the Ligurian driver hopes to take revenge paired with Favero, but is still forced to retire, while at the Trofeo Sardo, and at the 1000 kilometers of the Nurburgring, he does not go beyond a thirteenth and fourteenth place. With the Scuderia Maserati he gets a good sixth place at the Targa Florio.


However, it is by returning to driving a Ferrari that Piero will take his first win of the season. In fact, after coming close to the podium at the Caserta Circuit, finishing fourth, and finishing twelfth at the Gold Cup of the Dolomites, he won the Reggio di Calabria Circuit at the wheel of the 500 Testa Rossa.


It will be his last peak of the year: in fact, again with the team from Maranello he will end his racing program with withdrawals at the Bari Grand Prix and the Messina 5 Hours, and will alternate sixth places at the Pescara and Venezuela Grand Prix. These results, however, will not prevent the Maranello team from confirming it for the following season as well.


The very beginning of 1957 seems to be the starter of what will happen a few months later. In the Cuban Grand Prix, paired with Edgar, the Ligurian driver is forced to retire, and even when he is hired by Mercedes, to compete in the Sicilian Grand Prix, he does not reach the finish line.


The season seems to reach a turning point on Labor Day, as Carini comes second in the Trofeo Vigorelli, twenty-four seconds behind Luigi Piotti's Maserati, taking the first podium of the year.


But four weeks later he leaves for France, in view of the Forez 6 Hours: on this circuit, in an attempt to hunt for his first win of the season, Piero loses control of his Ferrari Testa Rossa, finishing first against the barriers and then hitting the car of the Portuguese Borges Barreto.


Right from the start, those who rush to the scene understand that the impact was terrible and will have tragic consequences: in fact, few both pilots are declared dead.

Carini died at the age of thirty-six on May 30, 1957, after having won four career victories and twelve podiums.


Massimiliano Amato

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