Maria Teresa de Filippis dies aged 89

09 Jan 2016 20:53

Maria Teresa de Filippis - the first woman to compete in a world championship Formula One grand prix - has died at the age of 89.

Italian De Filippis started three grand prix races in a privately-entered Maserati 250F , finishing a best place of 10th at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

The Naples-born driver also tried to qualify for the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix, and again the following year in a Behra-Porsche, before leaving the sport following the death of team owner Jean Behra later in 1959 and retiring aged just 23.

De Filippis was a founding member of the Maserati Club and also honorary president of the Club Internationale des Anciens Pilotes de Grand Prix F1 for retired drivers.

Former F1 driver Alexander Wurz paid tribute to D e Filippis, writing on Twitter: " We lost another pioneering member of the Motorsport world today, Maria Teresa de Filippis, the first woman to race in #F1. RIP"

The late Lella Lombardi is the only other woman to start a Formula 1 race, making the grid in 12 grands prix between 1974 and 1976.

Britain's Divina Galica, South African Desire Wilson and Italian Giovanna Amati have also all tried to qualify for the races, but been unsuccessful .