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Franco and Martino Severi

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#1 Felix Muelas

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 20:40

Were they related?

Their testing and racing activities for Ferrari look like being something like 20 years apart, with Franco being the pre-war man and Martino the post-war.

Leif has drafted a reasonable list of showings for Guido / Giulio / Luigi / Francesco Severi but there´s no biographical details available.

As for Martino, we know he was Chief Tester at Ferrari some time around the end of the fifities / beginning of the sixties, (maybe he was appointed as such when Sergio Sighinolfi died?) and also raced, notably finishing 5th in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1957 with the first non-Jaguar, a Ferrari that he was sharing with Stuart Lewis-Evans.

But what else? Where they related? Brothers? Father-and-son? Nothing at all?
Do you know any biographical details about any of them? When were they born? When did they die?

Thank you



#2 Rainer Nyberg

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Posted 28 January 2003 - 00:11

Just to add to the confusion, there is a Giannino Severi entered on the 1952 Mille Miglia. He finished 16th with Giuseppe Pagani in a Osca MT4 1100.


Martino Severi appears on this pic from Monza 1958.
Posted Image

I guess testdrivers from the past didn't get the recognition they deserved.
Today the testdriver is fully integrated member of the GP team, and sometimes even enjoys quite a high profile. (The chances to become a GP driver seems pretty limited these days so....)

Franco sounds like it could be a nick for Francesco.

#3 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 28 January 2003 - 04:08

There is a photo of Martino Severi with Ferrari, Collins and Giberti in Richard Williams' new Enzo Ferrari biography.

He is also mentioned in a piece about the Modena track.

"It was not a particularly interesting or demanding circuit, although Martino Severi, Ferrari's chief test driver, became such a specialist there that even the very greatest of the factory's drivers, to their intense frustration, often found it hard to match the times set by a man who always wore black trousers, a black sweater and a black helmet, and who was unable to make an impact anywhere else."

#4 alessandro silva

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Posted 29 January 2003 - 11:20

I was sometimes puzzled by Leif’s information about all these Severis. Severi is of course a very common family name in the Modena region, but so many drivers is strange!
The more wellknown undoubtedly was Francesco - NOT Franco. I have him in 1931 as an early Scuderia Ferrari customer in a 1750 Alfa Romeo. He stayed with the Scuderia at least until 1936. He was Cortese’s co-driver in the Pescara Berlinettas and raced also Alfa Monzas and GP cars in 1936. Let’s leave 1937 aside for a moment. He was back with the Scuderia for the first Alfetta team in 1938.
Francesco Severi had always been in Ferrari’s entourage in Modena which somebody calls Ferrari’s “court”. He was a competent driver, helped by his closedness to Enzo.
He quit racing after the 1939 season. He had married a rich wife, a fact that always helps. She was a richissime noblewoman and he had to look after her many business interests. Among these there was landowning and, as a matter of fact, she owned a lot of land around a village called…. Maranello.
Somebody had said that the now famous two fields bought by Ferrari with part of his severance pay from Alfa Romeo, came from Mrs Severi estate, but I do not know.
In 1937 we found a Severi racing a Maserati 6CM, the ex-Bergamini 1534. He is usually listed as Francesco. Only in Palermo he is listed as Giulio (see Carli for instance). Unfortunately for historians, Severi won that race. So it is Giulio everywhere. If a Giulio ever existed, you pick…
The best way to sort out how many Italian drivers with the same family name were active in a given period is to look at Mille Miglias entry lists. Probably Felix can do that much more swiftly than me to see if a Giulio, Guido or Luigi ever raced there. Francesco of course did. An absence from MM rolls is not conclusive but has to be considered a very rare happening for an Italian driver.

#5 Felix Muelas

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Posted 29 January 2003 - 13:15


a) Thanks I was expecting your input and I have to reckon I am not disapointed. ;)

b) Understood . The tip on the MM files sounds very well. I'll see what I can find

c) Apologies . It now seems beyond belief that, after my irritating thikness on the subject of Berardo Taraschi, should I come back with another similar mispelling. This time is solely my fault, thank God, and I am sorry to have typed Franco when I was meaning to type Francesco. If I wanted to find a guilty companion on this one, I guess I could try to remind that Francesco AND Franco are one of those associations that a Spaniard in my age would do without even noticing... :eek: :lol:

un abrazo


#6 Leif Snellman

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Posted 29 January 2003 - 15:40

Originally posted by alessandro silva
I was sometimes puzzled by Leif’s information about all these Severis.

Sorry for that. As I have said earlier, my site is only as good as the information I recieve.

Searching for Severi between 1933 and 1940 at http://www.wspr-raci...champ_home.html revealed only a number of Francesco Severi entries, no other Severis. Of course I don't know neither how complete the lists nor the sources used, perhaps a "Severi" in a list has been transformed to "Francesco Severi" during the Internet transfer.

#7 alessandro silva

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Posted 29 January 2003 - 16:08

Originally posted by Leif Snellman
Sorry for that. As I have said earlier, my site is only as good as the information I recieve.

Nothing to be sorry. The fact is that a Giulio Severi is often given as the winner of the 1937 Targa Florio. I do not think he ever existed, but I never had tried to settle the matter. I just looked in Sheldon, who gives Francesco.

I now think that the matter is settled. As a matter of fact while I am typing I recalled a famous article by D. Owen in Automobile Quarterly vol XI #4 1973. There is a picture of FRANCESCO captioned Giulio as the winner in the Maserati # 16. It is Francesco, since he used a particular cloth helmet which makes him easily recognizable.
This means only that Francesco was probably the winner of the 1937 TF. It does not exclude that there were other racing Severis.
I'll later scan a couple of photos and send to Felix.
Un abbraccio