Franco Comotti

Franco Comotti

24/7/1906 - 10/5/1963

Comotti first appeared at the 1928 Italian Grand Prix in a Talbot before he joined Alfa Romeo, winning the 1933 Grand Prix of Naples in an Alfa Romeo 2600, and the 1934 Commingues GP. After World War Two he joined Talbot-Lago, though his only F1 racing was between 1950 and 1952, first with Maserati and in 1952 briefly with Scuderia Ferrari.

Franco's best days were pre-war, when he raced an Alfa Romeo and a Lago-Talbot with some success. He won the 1933 Naples GP in the former, and came close to winning the 1937 French GP at Reims in the latter. After leading he had to settle for second place behind Chiron.

After hostilities ceased he made a return to competition, moving to France to join the Ecurie France team to race their Lago-Talbots. These trusty machines were certainly not the fleetest, but they were reliable, and Comotti brought the car into fourth place in the 1948 French GP, some nine miles adrift of the winner. He also finished seventh in the Italian GP in Turin.

Back in Italy he linked up with the Ruggeri brothers to race their latest Maserati-based Milano car in 1950, but due to lack of funds these machines were never properly developed and Comotti left to join Scuderia Marzotto.

In 1951, he finished second at Grenzlandring in a Ferrari 166 F2, and the following year he raced even more regularly for the team, with third in the Naples GP and sixth at Syracuse his best finishes. Franco also made a one-off Maserati appearance for the Escuderia Bandeirantes at AVUS before bringing his career, which had stretched back for more than two decades, to a close.

After his retirement from racing, Comotti worked on the Continent and in North Africa with the oil and petroleum giant BP. He was also one of nine founders of the Club International des Anciens Pilotes de Grand Prix F1 in 1962.

(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000

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