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Ferrari stolen from F1 driver Gerhard Berger recovered 28 years later

<span>Gerhard Berger’s F512M Testarossa was recovered in London after a tipoff from Ferrari.</span><span>Photograph: Metropolitan Police/PA</span>
Gerhard Berger’s F512M Testarossa was recovered in London after a tipoff from Ferrari.Photograph: Metropolitan Police/PA

The wheels of justice may move painfully slowly compared with the speed of Formula One, but Scotland Yard has recovered a special edition Ferrari belonging to the racing driver Gerhard Berger 28 years after it went missing.

The red F512M Testarossa, worth £350,000, was stolen in Imola, Italy, in 1995 as crowds gathered for a grand prix.

The Metropolitan police said the car had been on a journey to Japan before being recovered in London.

Ferrari alerted police that the car was in the UK and about to be sold to a US buyer.

The Austrian racing driver was in Imola for the San Marino Grand Prix when it was taken.

The Met said: “In January this year, the Met received a report from Ferrari, who had carried out checks on a car being bought by a US buyer via a UK broker in 2023, which revealed it was a stolen vehicle.”

The force’s organised vehicle crime unit was alerted and carried out checks around the world.

The car arrived in the UK in late 2023, and when convinced it was Berger’s vehicle, the Met seized it so it could not be exported.

The F512M is a more powerful version of the Testarossa, for those who thought the earlier model was a bit slow. It has a top speed of 196mph (315kmph), reaching a speed of 100mph from a standing start in around 11 seconds, according to Ferrari. Only about 500 were made.

The Met, facing claims about its performance on more humdrum crimes, was at pains to point out officers worked on this particular case for no more than four days.

PC Mike Pilbeam, who led the investigation, said: “The stolen Ferrari, close to the value of £350,000, was missing for more than 28 years before we managed to track it down in just four days.

“Our inquiries were painstaking and included contacting authorities from around the world. 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.”

The Met’s organised vehicle crime unit recovered 418 vehicles worth £31m in 2023, the force said, with 326 of them linked to organised criminal gangs.