Although a Brazilian by birth, the 75-year-old two-time Formula 1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi has decided to run for the Italian Senate. An admirer of the dictator Benito Mussolini is fighting for a seat in the upper house for the far-right Brothers of Italy party.
The former successful pilot has a strong Italian background from his father, prominent sports journalist and radio commentator Wilson Fittipaldi Sr. His mother, a Russian with Polish roots, Józefa Wojciechowská was an emigrant from St. Petersburg.
He can run because Italy has seats reserved for foreign citizens of Italian origin in the upper house of parliament. The leadership of the Brothers of Italy party is counting on the fact that the F1 champion can be a draw for sports lovers living in Brazil. 1.5 million people of Italian origin have the right to vote in this country.
Fittipaldi is nominated for the “circoscrizione sudamericana”, one of four foreign electoral zones alongside the belts for North America, Europe and Africa/Asia.
The Sao Paulo native does not hide his admiration for Mussolini. The leader of the National Fascist Party was the Italian Prime Minister from 1922 to 1943, when he was executed by partisans.
The candidate for the Senate, from the province of Potenzaze in the south of the country, wants more rights for people with Italian roots. In addition, his plans include the seamless registration of native Italian athletes or athletes of Italian origin in all sports competitions as representatives of Italy.
“I am very happy to run for the Italian Senate on September 25. I have put several proposals on paper. All of them aim to support actions concerning Brazilians who have strong ties with Italian countries, culture and sports,” said Fittipaldi, whose support also controversial Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro.
If successful, the 1972 and 1974 F1 champion would follow in the footsteps of other athletes who have succeeded in politics. Last year, Fittipaldi’s late F1 rival Carlos Reutemann was governor of the province of Santa Fé, then a senator, and his presidential candidacy was even on the cards.
Several times the best footballer in Africa George Weah is today the acting president of Liberia, cricket legend Imran Khan was the prime minister of Pakistan until April.
Fittipaldi tested the Buggyra truck | Video: Buggyra Racing