Andrea De Cesaris
Andrea De CesarisGetty

Former Formula 1 driver Andrea De Cesaris, 55, has died in a motorbike accident in Rome.

De Cesaris, who was riding a Suzuki 600, hit a guardrail and died from the impact on the spot, according to Motorsport.com.

The Italian had started in 208 races in his Formula 1 career, having spells with McLaren, Ligier, Minardi, Jordan, Tyrrell and Sauber. At the age of 22, he was the youngest driver then to start a Grand Prix in 1982.

A statement on the F1's official website said: "Ex-Formula One driver Andrea de Cesaris has been killed in a motorbike accident in his native Rome, aged 55. De Cesaris made over 200 Grand Prix starts between 1980 and 1994 in an F1 career, which included spells with teams including McLaren, Ligier, Minardi, Jordan, Tyrrell and Sauber."

"In 1982, aged 22, De Cesaris became the then-youngest driver to start a Grand Prix from the front of the grid after he took his sole career pole, with Alfa Romeo, at the US West round."

"His best results were second places at the 1983 German and South African races, again with Alfa Romeo, for whom he also set the fastest lap in the '83 Belgian round," it added.

McLaren tweeted: "All at McLaren send condolences to ex-McLaren #F1 driver Andrea De Cesaris, who sadly passed away today."