Ferrari's first champ Gonzalez passes away
Jose Froilan Gonzalez, the 'Pampas Bull' who in 1951 became the first driver to win a Formula One world championship Grand Prix for Ferrari, has died in Buenos Aires at the age of 90, Argentine media reported on Saturday.
Gonzalez beat compatriot and five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio to win the 1951 British Grand Prix at Silverstone after making his championship debut with Maserati in Monaco a year earlier.
He also won the Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar race with Frenchman Maurice Trintignant in a works Ferrari in 1954. The stocky Argentine’s Formula One career spanned a decade, taking in 26 Grands Prix. His last appearance for Ferrari came in his home Grand Prix in 1960.
His two wins were both at Silverstone for Ferrari, with the second coming in 1954 when he ended the season as runner-up - a mere half a point clear of Britain’s Mike Hawthorn -- to Fangio who drove for both Maserati and Mercedes that year.
In 2011, he was honoured by Ferrari on the 60th anniversary of his first win, with Fernando Alonso driving the 1950s Ferrari 375 race car around the Silverstone circuit. The Spaniard went on to win the Grand Prix for Ferrari later that day.
Gonzalez’s death leaves Australian triple world champion Jack Brabham, now 87, as the oldest surviving Formula One race winner.