Antonia Terzi, aerodynamic engineer for both the Ferrari and Williams Formula 1 teams in the 1990s and 2000s has sadly died in a car crash in the UK at the age of 50.
Born in Modena, Italy – Terzi, one of the few female engineers in Formula 1 at that time – worked at Ferrari under Rory Byrne until 2001, when she was recruited by Williams to be its Chief Aerodynamic Engineer.
She remained with the team until 2004, during which time she penned, amongst others, the 2004 ‘walrus nose’ FW26 under the stewardship of Sir Patrick Head and Chief Designer Gavin Fisher.
According to Italian sports journalist and author Leo Turrini, a friend of Terzi, she did not like living in England and sought a move back to Maranello, but then Ferrari principal Jean Todt felt scorned that someone could leave the Scuderia to join what was at that time their main rival, and so the move didn’t happen.
Antonia Terzi left the world of Formula 1, moving into academia at the Universty of Delft in The Netherlands, working on the Superbus project with former astronaut & aerospace engineering professor Wubbo Ockels.
Terzi would later move to the aerospace industry before returning automotives, becoming the head of aerodynamics at Bentley Motors.
According to italy24news.com Terzi was due to move to Canberra, Australia to take up the post of professor at the city’s Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science, but the move was put on hold as a result of the COVID pandemic.
Antonia remained in England, working remotely, before restrictions were to be lifted and she’d be able to relocate down under.
Sadly, that wasn’t to happen. A Formula 1 trailblazer and a bright light taken far too soon.
The final words go to to Leo Turrini, who wrote of his friend:
“She always kept Formula One in her heart. She was a pioneer. She was a star.”
“And you do not know, reader, how hard it is for me to write ‘she was'”.