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First-ever female F1 driver passes away at 89

Snapshot: Formula 1's first-ever female driver Maria Teresa de Filippis in the 1950s has passed away at the age of 89.

Best known for having become Formula 1's first-ever female driver Maria Teresa de Filippis, has passed away at the age of 89. She went on to drive in the Italian sports car championship, finishing second in the 1954 season. Seeing her potential, Maserati brought her in as the works driver. De Filippis participated in five World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 18 May 1958, making a total of three starts with a privately-entered Maserati 250F.

After she failed to qualify for the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix,  as De Filippis' time of 1'50.8 was 5.8 seconds behind the qualifying time of the fastest 16 which included future world champions Mike Hawthorn, Jack Brabham, and Graham Hill in his first race, her first start came in that year's Belgian GP at Spa. It was the only race, she could finish though doing so in the 10th and last place, nearly 44 seconds off victorious Tony Brooks' pole position time.

She also qualified for the 1958 Portuguese and Italian races, but the year 1958 was a tragic year in Formula One with the death of several drivers. Her final attempt to qualify for a Grand Prix came in the season-opening 1959 Monaco Grand Prix. But she turned back on motor racing after Porsche’s team leader Jean Behra died in a racing accident on 1 August 1959 while driving in the sports car support race for the 1959 German Grand Prix at AVUS.

Though, she is not the last female driver to appear in the Grand Prix until the Lella Lombardi, the only other woman to enter the F1 race

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