March 8 is International Women’s Day, and to mark the occasion, Maserati is honoring the achievements of Maria Teresa de Filippis, the first woman to qualify for a Formula 1 Grand Prix driving a Maserati 250F. For this important day, we remember her story, one that is filled with passion and courage.
Maria Teresa de Filippis was born in 1926 in Naples. In 1948, at only 22 years old, she entered her first race, where she claimed victory at the 10km Salerno-Cava de ‘Tirreni, 500cc class of the touring car category.
This first victory triggered her passion for racing, and in the next year, she again claimed success in a few competitions in the 750cc category.
From 1953 to 1954, she started racing in an Osca 1100 cc, where she claimed victory in the Trullo d’Oro, 12 Hours of Pescara, the Catania-Etna, and even in the circuits of Syracuse and Caserta.
By 1955 she transitioned to a Maserati 2000 A6GCS. According to an article she wrote, she described the Maserati as “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!”
Her most notable victory was in the Catania-Etna, where she set a record for three years. In 1955, she finished second in the 2000cc class championship.
In 1958, at the GP of Syracuse, she made her debut driving a private Maserati 250F. She then competed in her first Formula World Championship Grand Prix in Belgium.
Over the years, many women have competed in motorsports, but Maria Teresa de Filippis holds a special place in the record book, being the first woman to compete in Formula 1.
After being able to join, compete, and even excel in an environment that was initially considered to be exclusively male, she was able to earn the respect and admiration of her rival and peers. She brought to the track the values that Maserati still upholds: elegance, excellence, and power.
Maserati and Maria Teresa de Filippis embody a winning combination. Their story shows courage, perseverance, boldness, and the desire to face physical, technical, and personal challenges and transform them into opportunities to be seized.
Maserati will be releasing a video on March 8 on their social media to celebrate both Maria Teresa de Filippis and International Women’s Day.