Emilio de Villota

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Emilio de Villota Ruíz (born 26th July, 1946 in Madrid, Spain) is a Spanish former racing driver and team owner.

His two children, Emilio Jr. and María, are also racing drivers.

Formula One

1976 - Ensign

De Villota made his Formula One debut at the 1976 Spanish Grand Prix for the Ensign team, qualifying in eleventh place. De Villota was running well before an engine failure caused him to retire. De Villota would take part in four further Grands Prix in that season, taking a best result of tenth at the Austrian Grand Prix. His season would be marked by a nasty incident with Ronnie Peterson at the German Grand Prix in which he collected the Swede at the Ostkurve. Both drivers required medical assistance to get out of the car, with Peterson suffering multiple broken ribs and two broken vertebrae. Fortunately, de Villota was mostly unharmed bar a few minor bruises.

1977-1978 - Iberia Airlines / Centro Asegurador

De Villota, without a drive for the 1977 season decided to try his hand at team management for the first time. Attracting sponsorship from Spanish airline Iberia and joined by fellow Shellsport International Series runner Tony Trimmer, de Villota's team entered all of the European races (bar the Soviet Union) that season. The team failed to clear pre-qualifying at their home race in Spain, but things turned around in Belgium, where not only did the team clear pre-qualifing, but de Villota managed to make the grid. He would fail to make the finish. For Monaco expectations were raised, and although Trimmer delivered on his side of the bargain de Villota's car suffered a driveshaft issue and failed to leave the garage, consigning him and the team to their second DNPQ of the season. De Villota would record his first finish of the season at the French Grand Prix, finishing in fourteenth place. In non-championship Grands Prix, de Villota's best result was a third place finish in the International Gold Cup meeting at Oulton Park - where his team ran a pair of satellite McLaren M23s.

Trimmer would depart the team after another poor performance in pre-qualifying for the Tuscan Grand Prix saw the team crash out again - French rookie Gabriel Château would join the team from the British Grand Prix onwards.

De Villota would remain in F1 for 1978 with his own team, this time running with sponsorship from the Centro Asegurador insurance company.