Alessandro "Sandro" Nannini (born 7 July 1959 in Siena) is an Italian former racing driver who took part in Formula One as well as touring car racing. He is the younger brother of rock-singer Gianna Nannini.
After several years in the World Sportscar Championship driving for the works Lancia team, Nannini made the jump to Formula One in 1987, partnering former Lancia teammate Pierluigi Martini at Minardi. While the M187 (or more specifically, its Motori Moderni engine) proved to be horrendously unreliable, when it lasted the race distance it proved capable of very good results in both Nannini and Martini's hands. Nannini in particular stood out, outscoring his more experienced teammate and achieving Minardi's best ever result (2nd place), but was suprisingly not retained by the team for 1988.
Having been replaced at Minardi by Frédéric-Maxime Voeckler, Nannini moved to the German Zakspeed team in 1988. Nannini struggled to adapt to the more reliable but rather cumbersome 881 chassis, and was frequently outperformed (and ultimately outscored) by veteran teammate Valentino Nicchi, ending the season with just two points to his teammate's 7.
With offers from more competitive teams not forthcoming, Nannini chose to stay with Zakspeed, who had brokered a deal to run works Yamaha engines (to replace their self-made turbo engines which had just been banned) in an attempt to gain an advantage over fellow midfield teams running customer Ford engines. Unfortunately, this backfired badly for the team, quickly relegating them to the depths of pre-qualifying, much to the frustration of Nannini. Only at the opening race in Brazil would Nannini make the grid in the 891, with his teammate Nicchi only managing to qualify a further two times before the team collapsed at the end of the year.
Fortunately, a surprise opening appeared at Mclaren after the Italian GP, following the dismissal of Teo Fabi after a poor run of form, allowing Nannini to exit his Zakspeed contract and move to a frontrunning team. The Italian would make an immediate impact in his first appearance for Mclaren, qualifying on pole and taking fastest lap, albeit only finishing fourth due to an off part-way through the race, following this up with another fourth in Australia and a podium in Mexico, rounding out the season with 10 points.
Nannini would be retained by Mclaren for 1990.
After Formula One
Following a helicopter accident in late 1990 which ended his Formula One career, Nannini returned to motorsport in the mid 1990s, successfully competing in various international touring car series using specially adapted controls to compensate for the damage to his right hand, which was nearly severed in the incident.