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Vitantonio Liuzzi

Vitantonio Liuzzi

Vitantonio "Tonio" Liuzzi (born 6 August 1981 in Locorotondo) is an Italian Formula One test driver for the Force India Formula One team. Having once lived in Hemel Hempstead in England where he shared an apartment with Red Bull Racing driver Christian Klien, Liuzzi now lives in Pescara, Italy.

Karting

Vitantonio Liuzzi, like most auto racing drivers, began his career at the age of 9 in kart racing (1991). Highlights of his early career include winning the 1993 Italian Karting Championship, and in 1995, taking second place in the Karting World Championship and fifth place in the European Championship. His karting career culminated when winning the Karting World Championship in 2001. In this race he managed to beat Formula One champion Michael Schumacher at Kerpen, the German's 'home' kart track.

Formula Renault, F3 and F3000

Liuzzi then moved on to cars; he raced in the 2001 German Formula Renault Championship, finishing second. Racing in the German Formula 3 Championship, he managed only ninth place overall. However, in that year he won the San Marino international F3 race and had test drives for the Coloni Formula 3000 team and Williams, the Formula One constructor. Red Bull took Liuzzi on board for the 2003 F3000 season in which he finished fourth overall. He moved to the Arden team for the following F3000 season. There, he dominated, winning seven of the ten races, and taking the title with one race left.

Formula One

Winter 2004 Formula One speculation

Having long listed former Formula One world champions Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell as his idols, Liuzzi's form in Formula 3000 led to speculation that Ferrari might want to employ him, either as a test driver at their Formula One team, or at Sauber, the Formula One team that Ferrari had a close association with as its longtime engine supplier. Indeed, he had a test drive with Sauber in September, 2004, but right before that test the team announced they had hired former WDC Jacques Villeneuve to a two-year deal for their open seat. In November, 2004 he was given another test drive, this time with Red Bull. This led to him joining Red Bull for 2005 in January of that year.

Red Bull Racing

Initially it seemed that he might be given the race seat alongside David Coulthard, but the team favoured Christian Klien, leaving Liuzzi with the position of test driver. Despite Klien's good performances in the first three races of the season, Red Bull abided by an agreement they made with Liuzzi and Klien before the season that they would both have a chance to race. They announced that Liuzzi would replace Klien for the San Marino, Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix. Liuzzi impressed, scoring his maiden point on his debut after both BAR drivers were disqualified from the San Marino race. After the Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix he was given another race at the European Grand Prix, before his seat was handed back to Klien for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Toro Rosso

Following Red Bull's purchase of the Minardi team (renamed Scuderia Toro Rosso: Team Red Bull in Italian), Liuzzi was rewarded with a full-season race seat in the "B-team". At the United States Grand Prix, he scored the team's first point, with an eighth place finish after a race-long battle with Coulthard and Nico Rosberg. However, that was the only point he and the team scored in .

Liuzzi was confirmed as staying with the team for the season at the launch of the STR2 on February 13 2007. The first half of Liuzzi's season was not much better, as his races were littered by mistakes similar to his ex-team mate's. The most notable of which was at Canada where he had the opportunity to score his first points of the season. Instead, he crashed into the infamous "Wall of Champions" at the exit of the final chicane. During the season he also faced constant speculation over the safety of his seat, as the team were openly courting both Vettel and Champcar series champion Sebastian Bourdais. Team mate Scott Speed claimed that Red Bull were aiming to get rid of both himself and Liuzzi.Once the announcement of Bourdais' contract for 2008 was made, Liuzzi's performances seemed to improve. After being denied a world championship point in Japan due to a post-race time penalty, he drove what many believe was the best race of his F1 career in China. After narrowly missing out on Q3 by qualifying 11th, he gained three spots at the start, and then overtook Mark Webber of the 'works' Red Bull team, as well as the BMW of Nick Heidfeld. Throughout the race he was able to keep pace with 5th-placed Jenson Button's Honda, and held off a late charge from Heidfeld to finish 6th and collect three points.

Force India

On the August 10, it was confirmed by Toro Rosso that Sébastien Bourdais will drive for the team next year, leaving Liuzzi currently without a seat for 2008. Liuzzi's manager, former Lotus boss Peter Collins, has confirmed that Liuzzi wishes to continue his involvement in F1. He had been linked to a test drive role within Williams, which eventually went to Nico Hülkenberg but then secured the role of test driver for the Force India F1 team on January 10 2008.

Racing record

Career summary

Season Series Team Name Races Poles Wins Points Final Placing
2001 Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup GM Motorsport 1 0 0 0 NC
Formula Renault 2000 Germany GM Motorsport 8 1 1 139 2nd
2002 German Formula Three Opel Team BSR 18 2 0 25 9th
Italian Formula Three Opel Team BSR 1 1 1 9 8th
European Formula Three Cup Opel Team BSR 1 0 0 N/A NC
Macau Grand Prix Team Carlin.Kolles 1 0 0 N/A NC
Masters of Formula Three Opel Team BSR 1 0 0 N/A 8th
2003 International Formula 3000 Red Bull Junior 10 1 0 39 4th
World Series by Nissan RC Motorsport 2 0 0 2 25th
2004 International Formula 3000 Arden International 10 9 7 86 1st
2005 Formula One Red Bull 4 0 0 1 24th
2006 Formula One Toro Rosso 18 0 0 1 19th
2007 Formula One Toro Rosso 17 0 0 3 18th

Complete Formula 3000 results

(F1 driver results legend 2) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap.)
Year Entrant Chassis Engine Tyres 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 DC Points
2003 Red Bull Junior Lola B02/50 Zytek-Judd KV SMR
4
ESP
Ret
AUT
4
MON
Ret
EUR
2
FRA
4
GBR
3
GER
4
HUN
9
ITA
4
4th 39
2004 Arden Lola B02/50 Zytek-Judd KV SMR
1
ESP
1
MON
1
EUR
11
FRA
1
GBR
1
GER
1
HUN
2
BEL
2
ITA
1
1st 86

Complete Formula One results

(F1 driver results legend 2) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicates fastest lap)
Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 WDC Points
2005 Red Bull Racing Red Bull RB1 Cosworth TJ2005 3.0 V10 AUS
TD
MAL
TD
BHR
TD
SMR
8
ESP
Ret
MON
Ret
EUR
9
CAN
USA
FRA
TD
GBR
TD
GER
TD
HUN
TD
TUR
TD
ITA
TD
BEL
TD
BRA
TD
JPN
TD
CHN
TD
24th 1
2006 Scuderia Toro Rosso Toro Rosso STR1 Cosworth TJ2006 3.0
V10 14 Series
BHR
11
MAL
11
AUS
Ret
SMR
14
EUR
Ret
ESP
15
MON
10
GBR
13
CAN
13
USA
8
FRA
13
GER
10
HUN
Ret
TUR
Ret
ITA
14
CHN
10
JPN
14
BRA
16
19th 1
2007 Scuderia Toro Rosso Toro Rosso STR2 Ferrari 056 2.4 V8 AUS
14
MAL
17
BHR
Ret
ESP
Ret
MON
Ret
CAN
Ret
USA
17
FRA
Ret
GBR
16
EUR
Ret
HUN
Ret
TUR
15
ITA
17
BEL
12
JPN
9
CHN
6
BRA
13
18th 3

Personal

In addition to his native Italian, Liuzzi speaks English and French. He is also known for his piercings: presently three, in his left upper ear, left eyebrow and left lower ear.

References

External links

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