Andrea de Cesaris killed in motorcycle accident in Rome on the same day Jules Bianchi left battling for his life

News of De Cesaris' passing came just hours after Bianchi suffered life-threatening head injuries in a horror crash at the Japanese Grand Prix

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The Independent Online

Former Formula One driver Andrea de Cesaris has died in a motorcycle accident in Rome. He was 55.

With French driver Jules Bianchi fighting for his life after crashing at the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, motor racing was dealt another blow when the official F1 website confirmed de Cesaris had died as a result of the accident in his home city.

He drove for British-based team McLaren for one season in 1981 and the team tweeted: "All at McLaren send condolences to ex-McLaren #F1 driver Andrea De Cesaris, who sadly passed away today."

  De Cesaris, who raced for nine other teams, started 208 Grands Prix in a career which ran from 1980 to 1994. However, he did not win any of them - a record for the most races without a success.

His most successful results were second-placed finishes at races in Germany and South Africa in 1983, while representing Alfa Romeo.

The previous year in the United States - and with the same team - de Cesaris became the youngest driver to start a Grand Prix from the front of the grid, aged 22.

  After leaving Formula One, he raced in the Grand Prix Masters series for retired F1 drivers, before becoming a currency trader and windsurfing enthusiast.