José Froilan Gonzalez died at the age of ninety in his native Buenos Aires. He was the first to take a Ferrari win in a a Grand Prix counting towards the Formula 1 World Championship by winning the British race at Silverstone in 1951.
“The news of the death of Gonzalez saddened me greatly,” Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo told the company's website. “We had spoken not that long ago, talking about cars and racing, the topics he was most enthusiastic about. Over all these years, he was always very attached to Ferrari and, as a driver and a man, he played an integral part in our history. His death means we have lost a true friend.”
The last meeting between “El Cabezon” and the team with which he was linked above all others in his racing career, took place appositely enough on 10 July two years ago at Silverstone. On that day, Fernando Alonso actually drove the 375 F1 that Gonzalez took to victory in 1951 in the British Grand Prix, an exhibition that had previously taken place back in 2001, when the Argentine driver was there in person to share the pleasure of the moment with Michael Schumacher. A few hours after the more recent demonstration, Fernando won the race, to give the Scuderia its only victory in 2011.
“I only realised what it meant to have won this race on the following Wednesday when I met Don Enzo at Maranello,” said Gonzalez in an interview he gave to our website on the sixtieth anniversary of the Silverstone win. “In his office there was a big photo of the victory right behind his desk! He asked me to sign it and to tell him every last detail about the race and then he gave me a gold watch with the Prancing Horse on the face. Only three days later did I really understand that it was a special win. Ferrari is the top in the world of motoring. For me, it has always been a cause of pride that I managed to take this first win, especially given what the marque went on to achieve in the past sixty years all over the world.”