On The Podium – Michele Alboreto’s Final Formula One Victory – German Grand Prix 1985
After the practice sessions for the 1985 F1 race at Spa I had dinner with friends. We were leaving the restaurant when I noticed Michele Alboretto engaged in an active conversation with a group of people seated at a table in the corner. We made eye contact and he stopped talking long enough to flash his great smile and enthusiastically wave a greeting. I smiled and returned the wave. I’ve always appreciated that small moment of friendly recognition.
I was back living in San Francisco when I read that Michele had been killed on April 29, 2001 at the EuroSpeedway near Lausitz, Germany. He was testing an Audi R8 race car in preparation for the Le mans 24 hours. The investigation revealed a sharp object had punctured the left rear tire and his car went out of control, somersaulted off the track and was destroyed. He was 44 years old when he died. I was overwhelmed with deep sadness for days.
I still feel his loss when I look at my photographs, but then I remember his smiling face in the restaurant. He was a superb driver and a genuinely great human being.