Renzo Zorzi (1946 - 2015) was an Italian racing driver who recorded seven starts in the Formula One World Championship over three seasons, between 1975 and 1977, driving for Williams and Shadow.
Born in December 1946 in Ziano di Fiemme in northern Italy, Zorzi started his racing career in 1972, entering the Italian Formula 3. He stayed in that competition until 1975, when the highlight of his F3 career was a victory at Monaco Grand Prix.
Formula 3 Monaco Grand Prix winner in 1975
Two F1 Grand Prix starts with Williams
Such a good result and sponsorship money secured him a place in Frank Williams' Formula 1 team for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in September 1975. Driving the #20 Williams FW03-Cosworth, he was 14th, the last of classified drivers, six laps behind race winner Clay Regazzoni (Ferrari).
In January 1976, Zorzi made one more Grand Prix start with Williams, driving the #21 Williams FW04-Cosworth in the season-opening Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos. He finished ninth, one lap behind race winner Niki Lauda (Ferrari).
Renzo Zorzi and Frank Williams in 1976
Scoring one championship point for Shadow
Without sponsorship support, Zorzi and Williams parted ways after two races. In 1977, Zorzi joined Shadow Racing Team, backed by Italian sponsor Franco Ambrosio. Driving the #17 Shadow DN5B-Cosworth, Zorzi retired at Argentine Grand Prix and then scored one championship point with sixth place in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Zorzi was driving Shadow DN8-Cosworth in three more Grand Prix races (South Africa, US West, Spain) before he was replaced by compatriot Riccardo Patrese.
In the South African Grand Prix, Zorzi was indirectly involved in a horrific accident when one marshal and Zorzi's teammate Tom Pryce were killed. Marshal was running across the track to help Zorzi, whose car was on fire, and he was hit by Pryce.
Renzo Zorzi was driving the #16 Shadow in two races
Ending a career in 1985
In a post-F1 career, Zorzi was active until 1985, participating mostly in sports car races. His most notable results in those races was a victory at 1000 km of Monza in April 1979, together with Marco Capoferri in a Lola T286-Cosworth. In 1980, he also made one start in the Aurora F1 Series with Arrows.
Zorzi's last race was the 1000 km of Monza in 1985, when he finished sixth in a Porsche 956 which he was sharing with Oscar Larrauri and Massimo Sigala. Some other cars he was driving in sports car races were Capoferri M1-Cosworth, Fiat X1/9, Porsche 935 or Chevron B36-BMW.
After retiring from racing, Zorzi was running a Pirelli driving school in southern Italy. He died in May 2015 at the age 68.