Formula One driver from Italy. He participated in 75 grands prix, debuting on September 7, 1986. In 2006 he will race in the inagural season of the Grand Prix Masters formula for retired Formula One drivers.
Caffi spent three years in Italian Formula Three from 1984 to 1986, finishing runner-up in 1984 and 1985, then 3rd in 1986. 1986 also saw him land a one-off drive with the Osella Formula One team, and Caffi scored a rare finish for them, coming home 11th.
The small Italian team were impressed by his sensible approach, and signed him for a full season for 1987. The Alfa Romeo powered car was uncompetitive and unreliable, Caffi never finishing once, though he was classified 12th at the San Marino Grand Prix. Nevertheless, the quiet Italian drew good notices for his attitude and skill in such a poor car (notably qualifying 16th for the Monaco Grand Prix).
He switched the new Scuderia Italia team, running a Dallara chassis, for 1988, again drawing good notices and peaking with 7th place at the Portuguese Grand Prix. 1989 saw the team expand to two cars, with Andrea de Cesaris taking the other, and a switch to Pirelli tyres. Caffi impressed, finishing 4th at the Monaco Grand Prix, and running 2nd at the United States Grand Prix before de Cesaris knocked him off. The second half of the season was less impressive as Pirelli struggled to find consistent race tyres, but was distinguished by Caffi starting 3rd at the Hungarian Grand Prix (though the aforementioned race tyres saw him finish 7th).
Caffi was noted as a promising talent, and was tempted to Arrows for 1990. The team had been bought by the Japanese Footwork concern, and were planning a major championship assault in 1991 with a new Porsche V12 and Michele Alboreto, while 1990 was to be an interim year. Caffi injured himself in a pre-season cycling accident, missing the first race of the season, retiring from the second with exhaustion and failing to qualify for the third. However, he bounced back with 5th place at the Monaco Grand Prix, and generally gave solid, if unspectacular, displays elsewhere.
1991 was to be an unmitigated disaster, sadly. The Porsche V12 was grossly overweight and seriously underpowered, and Caffi failed to qualify for the first four races. He then broke his jaw in a road car accident following the Monaco Grand Prix. Footwork then drafted in Stefan Johansson to cover, and when Caffi returned to fitness, he found the team were trying to keep the Swede on. He managed to get back into his seat via a legal injuction, but then failed to qualify for the next six races. He finally got through to the Japanese Grand Prix, finishing 10th, but Aguri Suzuki had already been announced as a replacement for 1992. He again got through for the Australian Grand Prix, but had no drive for the following season.
He had no option but to sign for the new Andrea Moda team. However, registration problems with the FIA meant he managed no more than a few practice laps at the South African Grand Prix, and the team arrived late for the Mexican Grand Prix and were not allowed to run. After this, Caffi was replaced by Roberto Moreno, and his time in Formula One was over.
After a brief career in Spanish and Italian Touring Cars, Caffi found his niche in sportscars, racing in GTs, ISRS and ALMS.
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