Davide Valsecchi is an Italian racing driver who started his career in the single-seaters before switching to the sports cars. He was active from 2003 to 2016. His greatest success in a career was the championship title in the GP2 Series in 2012.
In a post-racing career, Valsecchi was TV commentator
Five years in the Formula Renault Series
Born in January 1987 in Eupilio, in the Province of Como, Davide as a boy competed in karting and later moved to the single-seaters. From 2003 to 2007, he progressed through the ranks of Formula Renault. The first year Valsecchi spent in Formula Renault 2000 Italia and finished 24th in the standings. In the following year, he moved up to the 14th position but also drove in the Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup where he was able to pick only two points. The season of 2005 was his best in the national Formula Renault as he finished 7th overall. The same year Davide also appeared in the selected events of Italian Formula 3, Formula Renault Eurocup, as well as in Recaro Formel 3 Cup.
In 2006 Valsecchi debuted in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, driving for Epsilon Euskadi team. After scoring two podium finishes and one pole position, Italian driver took 10th place in the Drivers’ championship. With the same team, Davide also competed in three races of the Le Mans Series LMP2 class.
Finally, in 2007 Valsecchi scored his maiden victory in the series. He was fastest in the second race at Nurburgring, while later in the season he also scored a 2nd place at Donington Park. Unfortunately, the rest of the campaign wasn’t as good and Italian driver dropped to the 16th position overall.
Davide Valsecchi spent five season in the GP2 Series
Move to GP2 Series in 2008
Davide signed with Durango team in 2008 and competed in GP2 and Asian GP2 Series. That year was marked with a huge crash during in qualifying for the race in Istanbul. Luckily, he escaped serious injuries but was unable to race that weekend and missed other two rounds. However, Valsecchi returned to the seat and managed to win the season-closing race at Monza.
The following season was relatively poor for the Eupilio-born racer after he took the 17th place. The highlight was the 3rd place in Istanbul but after the round in Hungary, Valsecchi left the team and joined Barwa Addax, replacing Romain Grosjean.
GP2 Asia Series champion in 2010
Valsecchi caught the eye of bigger teams after he won the 2009-2010 GP2 Asia Series title. Driving for iSport International he won 3 out of 8 races, thrice finished 2nd and in the great style won the championship, scoring an almost double number of points than runner-up Luca Filippi.
In the main GP2 Series, he stayed with the team but failed to repeat the results from the Asian Series. However, the results weren’t poor after he won the season-closing race at Yas Marina Circuit, finished 2nd in Istanbul, and 3rd in Valencia, before taking the 8th position in the final classification.
Valsecchi was a test driver for Lotus F1 Team
Lotus F1 team test driver
Valsecchi in 2011 became a step closer to the Formula 1 after becoming test driver of Lotus team. While waiting for his chance in Formula 1, Davide continued to race in GP2 Series, this time as a driver of the Team AirAsia. Just like in the previous season, Valsecchi finished 8th overall after scoring a victory in Monaco.
The second half of the campaign was really poor after he failed to score points in the last 10 races of the year but Davide’s big moment was still to come.
Davide Valsecchi in 2012
GP2 Series champion in 2012
For the 2012 season, Valsecchi signed with the championship winning team DAMS and again arrived as a replacement for Romain Grosjean. That year was the best in Valsecchi’s career so far as he relatively easily won the title, beating some well-known names, like Esteban Gutierrez, Max Chilton, Marcus Ericsson, Felipe Nasr, Jolyon Palmer, etc.
The good start of the season probably was crucial. Italian driver scored three wins in opening six races and had other two podiums. Later in the season he was able to win just once, at Monza, but scored points on a regular basis and finished the year 25 points ahead of his closest rival.
Davide Valsecchi was the 2012 GP2 Series champion
Losing the chance to race in Formula 1
After becoming the GP2 Series champion, Davide rightfully waited for his chance in the most popular championship. In 2013 he was Lotus’ test and reserve driver and after Kimi Raikkonen announced that he will miss the last two races of the year due to an injury, it was expected that Valsecchi will replace him. Lotus decided to pick a more experienced driver and hired Heikki Kovalainen.
Italian driver was disappointed and angry with the team’s decision and publicly criticized Lotus. It was not surprising when Lotus decided to part ways with Valsecchi at the end of the year. Without a proper financial backing, he was unable to find a new engagement and his spell in Formula 1 was ended.
Davide Valsecchi was Lotus reserve driver in 2013
Switch to GT racing and TV career
Since 2014 Valsecchi is competing in various GT championships as a part-time driver of Lamborghini. In 2016 he drove in three rounds of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup with Attempto Racing and GRT Grasser Racing Team but failed to impress.
Since 2016 Davide also works as a commentator and analyst of Formula 1 races for the Italian Sky Sports and also hosts the Italian version of Top Gear TV show.