Former F1 drivers Andrea de Adamich (left, 69 today) and Max Papis (right, 41 today) are celebrating their respective birthdays today!
The tall and bespectacled de Adamich contested 34 World Championship Formula 1 races between 1968 and 1973, achieving a total of six championship points with a pair of fourth-placed finishes.
Born in the Italian town of Trieste, de Adamich forged a long relationship with Alfa Romeo after winning the 1966 European Touring Car Championship, and the marque’s connection to Ferrari saw him make his debut on a one-off appearance at the 1968 South African Grand Prix, where he retired after spinning on oil.
The Italian went on to win the Argentine Formula 2 championship in a Ferrari, but somehow wasn’t retained by the team and it was instead his Alfa connections that saw him return to F1 in an Alfa-powered works McLaren in 1970. Amidst several failures to qualify, he was classified as a finisher just twice in a thin season, and followed Alfa Romeo as it switched its engine supply to March in 1971.
That season proved equally without the results he needed, and so he sought sponsorships from a local ceramic company to sign on with Surtees, picking up an excellent fourth place, and repeating the feat the following year at Belgium in a privately-entered Brabham.
The following season would see the end of de Adamich’s F1 career, as he fell victim to the Jody Scheckter-inspired multi-car shunt at the British Grand Prix. The luckless Italian suffered badly broken legs and retired when he was unable to return to the cockpit at full fitness.
De Adamich is now a respected part of the Italian TV F1 commentary team.
The very versatile Massimiliano ‘Max’ Papis contested a single part-season in Formula 1 with Footwork in 1995, standing in for Gianni Morbidelli when the squad was in need of bolstering its coffers mid-season.
Despite his impressive pedigree in Formula 3 and Formula 3000, he was uncompetitive in the unfamiliar car, and suffered a couple of particularly unusual accidents – most notably being a suspension failure after he hit the pit wall following a pit stop at the British Grand Prix.
Papis would have scored a point on home soil at the Italian Grand Prix, only to be overtaken by Jean-Christophe Boullion’s Sauber on the final lap, and he dropped down for Morbidelli to return after two more races.
Papis moved to the CART championship in 1996, joining the Arcerio-Wells squad following the death of Jeff Krosnoff. Two further seasons with the team produced little more than a single top-five finish, and he found better results when he joined the Rahal team in 1999.
After achieving three podium finishes in the back of the 1999 season, he won the season-opening round at Miami the following year, and earned two further wins the year after that. In the midst of the CART-IRL split, Papis decided enough was enough, and ventured off to NASCAR.