Former F1 driver’s Ferrari found 29 years after being reported stolen

Published Mar 5, 2024


A Ferrari stolen from Austrian former racing driver Gerhard Berger after the San Marino Grand Prix in 1995 has been recovered, Britain's Metropolitan Police said Monday.

Berger and fellow F1 star Jean Alesi lost their private cars on the same day in April 1995 to car thieves working near the circuit at Imola.

The Austrian explained that his red F512M Testarossa had disappeared from outside his hotel.

London's Metropolitan Police said they launched an investigation in January after receiving a report from Ferrari, which had carried out checks on a car being bought by a US buyer via a UK broker in 2023, that revealed it was stolen.

Officers traced the car's background within four days, finding out that it had been shipped to Japan shortly after being stolen from Berger and then brought to the UK in late 2023.

Police then took possession of the vehicle to prevent it being exported from the UK.

"The stolen Ferrari - close to the value of £350,000 (R8.5 million) - was missing for more than 28 years before we managed to track it down in just four days," said officer Mike Pilbeam, who led the investigation.

"We worked quickly with partners including the National Crime Agency, as well as Ferrari and international car dealerships, and this collaboration was instrumental in understanding the vehicle's background and stopping it from leaving the country," he added.

Berger was one of the most popular drivers during his 14-season Formula One career, which began in 1984 and ended in 1997, winning 10 Grand Prix and twice finishing third in the championship while driving for Ferrari.

He earned a reputation as a prankster while driving at McLaren with Brazilian teammate Ayrton Senna, once filling his legendary colleague's bed with frogs.

The Ferrari F512M of 1994 was the most comprehensive update of the original Testarossa of the 1980s. It featured a 4,943cc V12 engine that was capable of 324kW, which was nothing short of explosive in those days, and a top speed of 315km/h.