Today we extend our warmest birthday wishes to Maria Teresa de Filippis – the first female driver to participate in Formula 1 – who turns 85 today!
Having competed successfully for a number of years in the Italian sports car racing scene, her F1 breakthrough came with the support of her compatriot Luigi Musso in 1958.
After placing fifth at the non-championship Syracuse Grand Prix, she tackled a further four Grands Prix in her Maserati 250F, finishing tenth at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Taken under the wing of Jean Behra in 1959, she retired from racing after his tragic death at AVUS, having failed to qualify one of his Porsches at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Today she is still actively involved in motorsport through her role with the Societe des Anciens Pilotes organisation, the international group of former Grand Prix drivers. She took on the role of the club’s vice presidency in 1997, and still attends historic motorsport events today.
[Images via ESPN]