Vittorio Brambilla was in his second season with March when he scored a famous win in the wet at the Osterreichring. After taking the chequered flag first in streaming wet conditions Brambilla promptly lost control of his car and swiped a barrier.
The former motorbike racer had made his debut the year before at the relatively mature age of 37. However in 1977 ‘the Monza Gorilla’ reverted to his tendency to crash before the end of the race and scored just a single point after a series of collisions with other rivals.
He ended his three-year association with March at the end of the season, joining John Surtees’ team and picking up a handful of points finishes over the next two years.
Late in 1978 Brambilla was badly injured in the first-lap crash at Monza which claimed the life of Ronnie Peterson. Brambilla sustained a heavy blow to the head.
Brambilla returned to F1 one year later at the same track with Alfa Romeo, though he had to make do with the team’s year-old car while Bruno Giacomelli raced the new chassis. He returned for them again the following year in place of Patrick Depailler, who had been killed in a crash at Hockenheim, but was well off the pace.
His F1 days were done and Brambilla called time on his racing career at the end of the following year. In 2001 he succumbed to a heart attack at his home in the village of Lesmo, which gives its name to two corners on the circuit which one way or another he had become closely identified with.