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First Ferrari winner González dies

16 June 2013

José Froilán González, the driver who opened Ferrari's F1 world championship account, has died at the age of 90.

The Argentine, nicknamed the 'Pampas Bull' for his larger-than-life appearance, began racing in 1946, before making his grand prix debut in a Maserati during the 1949 season. He remained with the Italian marque for the inaugural world championship, racing with the Scuderia Achile Varzi team in two rounds, Monaco and France.

The following year, after jumping between Maserati and Talbot machinery for the opening few rounds, he switched to Ferrari, taking the Prancing Horse to its maiden world championship victory at Silverstone, before finishing on the podium in the remaining rounds in Germany, Italy and Spain and finishing third overall in the standings.

Although he remained a regular visitor to the podium, he won just one further world championship event, again at Silverstone, on his way to finishing second overall in 1954. His complete racing record, however, shows that he was a formidable competitor, with 46 wins in 115 outings including the 1954 Le Mans 24 Hours.

After a sporadic relationship with F1, Gonzalez's last world championship appearance came at the 1960 Argentine Grand Prix, but he continued to race regularly in his homeland, and he returned to the scene of his two biggest wins for the 60th anniversary of Ferrari's first victory in July 2011.

His death was reported as being caused by respiratory failure.


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