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Remembering Maria-Teresa At Monaco

It seems quite remarkable, for those of us who can remember those days, but it is sixty years this coming weekend since our former GPDC President, Maria-Teresa de Filippis became the first woman to be entered for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Maria-Teresa de Filippis at Tabac corner during practice for the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix

Maria-Teresa de Filippis at Tabac corner during practice for the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix

What made the visit more incredible was that it was only the second time she had driven her Maserati 250F.

Her first race with the car had been four weeks before in Syracuse in Sicily. Her entry marked her as the first woman to race in a Formula 1 grand prix race.

She qualified eighth fastest and lined up on the grid behind Masten Gregory’s Scuderia Centro Sud Maserati. She had been coached by Luigi Musso, who was one of Italy’s rising stars at the time, and it was Musso who put his Ferrari on pole position. In the race, Maria-Teresa finished 5th.

As usual at the Grand Prix of Monaco there were more entrants than places on the grid and with her relative inexperience, it would have been surprising if she had qualified. There were three practice sessions to sort out the final grid and it soon became apparent that anyone who qualified any slower than 1:45 would be out. This meant that twelve hopefuls, including Maria-Teresa were out. Her time of 1.50.8 with the big Maserati on a first visit was certainly not the slowest.

As the season progressed she began to get used to the grand prix car and was 11th behind Jo Bonnier in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa but her performance in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza ended with a conrod through the side of the engine of the Maserati when she was lying in sixth place.