Alfredo Melandri came for a wealty family. He started racing in karts before moving to cars with the Italian Renault Clio Cup. He made his single seater debut in 1996 in a Dallara 396-Fiat Abarth for team Assosport in the Italian F3 Championship, finishing 10th that year.
In 1997 he moved to Team Prema with André Couto as team-mate. Melandri finished 6th in the Championship. Staying in F3 for another year in 1998, he signed for team RC Motorsport.
During an F3 test at Mugello on the 2nd March, the brakes apparently failed on Melandri's Dallara 398-Opel and he crashed at San Donato, at the end of the start-finish straight, at speed of about 250 km/h. The car crossed the sand trap and crashed into the barrier, completely destroying the front of the nose and the cockpit. Melandri's helmet was crushed and he sustained severe head and back injuries. He was taken to hospital in Firenze in a coma where he died seven days later.