Maria Teresa de Filippis was the first woman to qualify for a Formula 1 Grand Prix, behind the wheel of a Maserati 250F. Her story is defined by passion and audacity and for this reason, Maserati celebrates her this International Women’s Day.
Maria Teresa de Filippis was born in Naples in 1926 and decided to enter the world of motor racing almost as a challenge. In 1948 she participated in her first real race: at only 22 years old she won the 10 km Salerno-Cava de 'Tirreni, 500cc class of the touring car category, decisively beating her male colleagues. That very first victory ignites her passion for racing and in the following year she triumphed in several competitions in the 750cc category.
For 1953 – 1954 she moved on to an Osca 1100 cc in which she won the 12 Hours of Pescara, the Trullo d’Oro, the Catania-Etna, and the circuits of Caserta and Syracuse.
1955 was the year Maria Teresa de Filippis transitioned to a Maserati 2000 A6GCS. In an article she wrote about her racing years, she said: “… a powerful car with which I felt I could do anything… and I did”, adding, “Poor car! So many spectacular accidents, but also so many victories!”. Chief among which was the victory in the Catania-Etna in record time, which remained undefeated for the next three years. She arrived in second place in the 2000 cc class championship of 1955.
In 1958 behind the wheel of a private Maserati 250F, Maria Teresa de Filippis made her debut in the GP of Syracuse and then competed in her first Formula World Championship Grand Prix in Belgium. A number of women racing drivers have competed in motor sport over the years, but only Maria Teresa holds the unique record that cannot be broken or even equaled of being the first woman to compete in Formula 1.
Able to stand out in an environment that had previously been considered exclusively male, Maria Teresa earned the respect and esteem of her rivals on the field and brought to the track the values that still guide Maserati today: excellence, elegance and power.
Maserati and Maria Teresa de Filippis represent a winning combination. A story of tenacity, courage and audacity. The desire and resolve to face technical, physical and personal challenges and to transform them into opportunities to be seized, looking to the future with determination.
Five years after her death, the strength and importance of the accomplishments of Maria Teresa de Filippis continue to define the values of Maserati and also inspire all the women who work for the Brand today. A special video, released on social media on the occasion of 8 March, unites and celebrates them.