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Vitantonio "Tonio" Liuzzi (born 6 August 1981) is an Italian race driver who currently drives for the Force India Formula One team. He lives in Pescaramarker, Italy.

Karting

Born in Locorotondomarker, BA, Apuliamarker, Liuzzi, like many auto racing drivers, began his career in kart racing (at age 9). He won the 1993 Italian Karting Championship, and in 1995 took second in the Karting World Championship and placed fifth in the European Championship. He won the Karting World Championship in 2001. He beat Formula One champion Michael Schumacher at Kerpen, Schumacher's 'home' track.

Formula Renault, F3 and F3000

Liuzzi then moved to cars, finishing second in the 2001 German Formula Renault Championship. Racing in the German Formula Three Championship, however, he scored only ninth place. That same year he did win the San Marinomarker International F3 race and had test drives for the Coloni Formula 3000 team and Williams, the Formula One constructor. Red Bull hired Liuzzi for the 2003 F3000 season, in which he finished fourth. He moved to the Arden team for the following F3000 season, where he won seven of the ten races, securing the title with one race left.

Formula One (2005 - present)

Winter 2004 Formula One speculation

Liuzzi's performance in Formula 3000 led to speculation that Ferrari might 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. He did have a test drive with Sauber in September 2004, but shortly before he tested they announced they had signed former WDC Jacques Villeneuve to a two-year contract. In November 2004 Liuzzi was given a test drive by Red Bull, who hired him for 2005 in January.

Red Bull Racing

Initially it seemed that he might be given the seat along with David Coulthard, but Red Bull chose Christian Klien, leaving Liuzzi as the test driver. Despite good performances by Klien in the first three races, Red Bull abided by an agreement they made before the season that both he and Liuzzi would be able to race. Liuzzi would replace Klien for the San Marino, Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix. Liuzzi scored his maiden point on his debut after both BAR drivers were disqualified at San Marino. Following the Spanish Grand Prix and Monaco, he was given one more race at the European Grand Prix, before his seat was returned 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 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 the team would score in .

Liuzzi was confirmed with the team for the season at the launch of the STR2 on 13 February 2007. Unfortunately, during the first half of his season his races were plagued by mistakes similar to his former team mate's. He seemed likely to score his first points of the season at Canada, but instead he crashed into the infamous "Wall of Champions" at the exit of the final chicane. He also faced constant speculation over keeping his seat, as the team openly courted both Sebastian Vettel and Champcar series champion Sebastian Bourdais. His team mate Scott Speed claimed Red Bull wanted to replace both himself and Liuzzi.Once Bourdais' contract for 2008 was announced, Liuzzi's performances improved. After being denied a world championship point in Japan by to a post-race time penalty, he drove what many consider the best race of his Formula 1 career in China. Narrowly missing out on Q3 by qualifying 11th, he gained three places at the start, then overtook Mark Webber of the 'works' Red Bull team, as well as the BMW of Nick Heidfeld. Throughout the race he kept 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 (2009 - Present}

On 10 August 2007 Toro Rosso confirmed that Sébastien Bourdais would drive for them in 2008, leaving Liuzzi without a seat. Liuzzi's manager, former Lotus boss Peter Collins, confirmed that Liuzzi wished to continue his involvement in F1. He had been linked to a test drive role with Williams, but it eventually went to Nico Hülkenberg. He then secured the role of test driver for the Force India F1 team on 10 January 2008. Liuzzi stated he hoped to move up to a race seat in as he is contracted until , but the contracts of his teammates Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella would not expire until the end of .

On 3 September 2009, Force India released Fisichella so he could replace Luca Badoer at Ferrari, who had filled in for two races for injured driver Felipe Massa. On 7 September 2009, Force India announced that Liuzzi would drive for them in the remaining five races of the 2009 Formula One season. He made his race debut for Force India at the 2009 Italian Grand Prix and qualified an impressive seventh, given the fact he started the race with a heavier fuel load than his younger teammate Adrian Sutil. He was running solidly in the points, before retiring after 22 laps with a transmission problem.

On 27th November 2009 Force India announced that it kept Adrian Sutil and Liuzzi as drivers for 2010.

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 10/10 1 0 39 4th
World Series by Nissan RC Motorsport 2/18 0 0 2 25th
2004 International Formula 3000 Arden International 10/10 9 7 86 1st
2005 Formula One Red Bull 4/19 0 0 1 24th
2006 Formula One Toro Rosso 18/18 0 0 1 19th
2007 Formula One Toro Rosso 17/17 0 0 3 18th
2008 Formula One Force India Test driver
2008–09 Speedcar Series UP Team 10 1 3 45 3rd
2008–09 A1 Grand Prix A1 Team Italy 4 1 0 7 16th
2009 Formula One Force India 5/17 0 0 0 22nd


Complete International Formula 3000 results

(key) (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 Team F3000 Lola B02/50 Zytek KV V8 IMOmarker
4
CATmarker
Ret
A1Rmarker
4
MONmarker
Ret
NURmarker
2
MAGmarker
4
SILmarker
3
HOCmarker
4
HUNmarker
9
MNZmarker
4
4th 39
2004 Arden International Lola B02/50 Zytek KV V8 IMOmarker
1
CATmarker
1
MONmarker
1
NURmarker
11
MAGmarker
1
SILmarker
1
HOCmarker
1
HUNmarker
2
SPAmarker
2
MNZmarker
1
1st 86


Complete Formula One results

(key) (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
TURmarker

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
TURmarker

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
ESPmarker

Ret
MON

Ret
CAN

Ret
USA

17
FRA

Ret
GBR

16
EUR

Ret
HUN

Ret
TURmarker

15
ITA

17
BEL

12
JPN

9
CHN

6
BRA

13
18th 3
2009 Force India F1 Team Force India VJM02 Mercedes-Benz FO 108W 2.4L V8 AUS MAL CHN BHR ESP MON TUR GBR GER HUN EUR BEL ITA

Ret
SIN

14
JPN

14
BRA

11
ABU

15
22nd 0


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

  1. Liuzzi's year of birth is a matter of dispute. Some sources such as the FORIX Formula 1 database and www.formula1news.it [1] nominate it as 1980, whereas other sources such as Liuzzi's official website [2] and www.f1db.com [3] identify it as 1981.
  2. Force India Confirm Liuzzi Planet-F1.com 7 September 2009
  3. Schumi returns to kart roots. BBC News, 28 October 2001
  4. Italians get Williams chance". BBC News, 6 November 2002
  5. Liuzzi claims F3000 title". BBC News, 28 August 2004
  6. Ferrari 'seek Liuzzi deal'". BBC News, 28 July 2004
  7. Liuzzi given Sauber chance. BBC News, 2 September 2004
  8. http://xserve2.com/ns/ns13501.html - GrandPrix.com. "Sauber announces Villeneuve deal" 15 September 2004.
  9. Red Bull take on Liuzzi and Klien. BBC News, 5 January 2005
  10. Red Bull name Klien second driver. BBC News, 13 January 2005
  11. Toro Rosso confirm Liuzzi and Speed". NewsOnF1, December 6, 2005


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