Cesare Perdisa (1932 – 1998) was an Italian racing driver who had a short but eventful racing career. He started racing in 1954 and retired in 1958. Perdisa recorded seven starts in the Formula One Championship with Maserati and Ferrari, scoring two podiums.
Perdisa was among the youngest drivers
Born in October 1932, in Bologna, Perdisa was among the youngest drivers when he entered racing in 1954. He made a debut at 1954 Mille Miglia, driving a Fiat 1100. In the same year, he scored some notable results in a Maserati A6GCS, finishing fourth at Imola Grand Prix or third at Coppa d'Oro di Siracusa.
In March 1955, he made a debut at Sebring 12 Hours, sharing the #36 Maserati 300S with Gino Valenzano. They narrowly missed a podium, finishing in the fourth place. Two months later, Perdisa has won Bari Grand Prix in a Maserati A6GCS.
Cesare Perdisa (right) with his friend Eugenio Castellotti at 1955 Monaco Grand Prix
Formula 1 debut with a podium in Monaco
A week after that victory, he made a Formula One debut at 1955 Monaco Grand Prix in a Maserati 250F. He was driving two cars during that race, starting in the #40 and finishing the race in the #34 car. He was sharing cars with Jean Behra, who spun off in the #40 after 86 laps but the #34 car came to the finish line in the third place, behind Ferrari's Maurice Trintignant and Lancia's Eugenio Castellotti.
In June, Perdisa was driving Maserati in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. He was a sole driver in the #26 Maserati, finishing 8th, three laps behind Juan Manuel Fangio.
Unsuccessful Le Mans debut
A week after Belgian Grand Prix, Perdisa made a debut at 24 hours of Le Mans. He was sharing the #15 Maserati 300S with Roberto Mieres. In a race marred by a tragedy, they retired after six hours with a broken gearbox.
Until the end of 1955, Perdisa scored one more victory with Maserati, beating Ferrari drivers Umberto Maglioli and Harry Schell at the Imola Grand Prix.
Cesare Perdisa at 1956 Monaco Grand Prix in the #32 Maserati
Fifth place at 1956 Sebring 12 Hours
In March 1956, he traveled again to Sebring with Maserati factory team. He was sharing the #25 Maserati 300S with Carlos Menditeguy. After an accident, Perdisa joined Jean Behra and Piero Taruffi in the #24 car, which finished in the fifth place.
After returning to Europe, he participated at Mille Miglia in a Maserati 300S, finishing just in 28th place. In May, he recorded one more retirement at Nurburgring 1000 km race.
Four F1 starts and one podium in 1956
During 1956, Perdisa was more successful in Formula 1 races. He recorded four starts with Maserati, finishing all four races and collecting points two times. At Monaco Grand Prix, he was seventh in the #32 Maserati 250F. In the Belgian Grand Prix, he finished on a podium after sharing a car with Stirling Moss.
In the next race, the French Grand Prix at Reims, Perdisa was sharing a car again with Stirling Moss. They finished in the fifth place. His final F1 start in 1956 was in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, where he finished seventh in the #9 Maserati 250F.
Cesare Perdisa (right) with Stirling Moss
Last Formula One start in the 1957 Argentine Grand Prix
In January 1957, Perdisa started a season in the Formula 1 Argentine Grand Prix, driving the #18 Lancia D50 for Scuderia Ferrari.
He started a race and drove for 30 laps, handing a car to Peter Collins, who later gave a car to Wolfgang von Trips. They finished in the fifth place, behind four Maseratis.
Retiring from racing after Castellotti's death
In March 1957, Perdisa was supposed to race at Sebring 12 Hours in a Ferrari 290 MM, but he withdrew from the event because of the death of his close friend Eugenio Castellotti, who lost his life a week earlier in a crash at the Modena Autodrome. Perdisa didn't withdraw from that event only but he retired from racing completely.
He made only one racing appearance after that. It was in the Gran Premio de Cuba in February 1958. He was driving a Maserati 300S, finishing in the 26th place.