- August 06, 1981
- Not Active
Vitantonio Liuzzi once was considered as Italian hot prospect in Formula 1, but as many of his compatriots, he didn’t meet expectations. He recorded 80 starts in the Formula 1 World Championship between 2005 and 2011, driving for four different teams. He scored no wins or podiums.
In other racing competitions during a career, his greatest result was a victory in the 2004 International Formula 3000 Championship.
Born in August 1980 in Locorotondo, in Apulia region in Southern Italy, Liuzzi started his career in karting. In 1993, he won the Italian Championship while two years later he was the World Championship runner-up. After he has won many races at the national and international level, Liuzzi was ready for a bigger stage in 2001.
Tonio, which is his nickname, debuted in the single-seaters. He was driving in the German Formula Renault Championship and took 2nd place. Next couple of years weren't so good. He moved to German Formula 3 in which he finished 9th overall but had a first chance to taste Formula 1 after he had tests with Williams team.
In 2003, Liuzzi signed with Red Bull to drive at the FIA International Formula 3000 Championship. Italian finished 4th and was a best-placed rookie in the series. Move to Arden team in 2004 proved to be a good one as Vitantonio became a Formula 3 champion. He secured the title one race before the end of the season after he has won seven races.
Liuzzi caught the eye of many teams and it was rumored that even Ferrari is considering acquiring his services. However, Red Bull signed him after successful tests during the winter of 2004 and Liuzzi was ready for the Formula 1 debut in 2005. His first race was at San Marino Grand Prix, which was his dream. He finished 6th and managed to earn points in his first appearance. The following two races at Monaco and Nurburgring weren’t as good, so Liuzzi was demoted to test driver and Christian Klien jumped into his seat.
Unable to secure a ride in Red Bull, Liuzzi was sent to the sister team Toro Rosso where he spent two years. Despite some notable performances, Liuzzi managed to finish in the points in only one race. He was 8th in the US Grand Prix which were the first points scored for Toro Rosso in its history.
In 2007, Liuzzi struggled in the races. He made mistakes often and had to retire from 7 out of 16 Grand Prix that year. Like in the previous season, he scored only once, finishing 6th in the Chinese Grand Prix which was one of the best results in his Formula 1 career.
After Sebastien Bourdais had arrived in the team, Toro Rosso parted ways with Liuzzi who had to find a new engagement. Finally, he signed with Force India but only to be a test and reserve driver. Italian knew that he had to wait for a new proper chance in F1, so he decided to find a competition in which he can drive regularly, to stay sharp and in good shape.
In 2008, Liuzzi appeared in four races of A1 Grand Prix and raced the whole season in the SpeedCar Series in which he won three races finished 3rd overall, behind Gianni Morbidelli and Johnny Herbert.
Before the end of 2009 season, Vitantonio unexpectedly got a chance to race in the last five rounds of Formula 1 World Championship. Force India released Giancarlo Fisichella and Liuzzi had a chance to drive, but failed to impress. However, he was promoted to the race driver for 2010 campaign and did a pretty good job. He collected 21 points, picking points in six race, with the 6th place at the Korean Grand Prix as the season highlight.
Surprisingly, Liuzzi was replaced by Paul Di Resta for 2011. Italian again had to look for a new place and found it with Hispania Racing. That year was a real disaster for Tonio. Driving a completely uncompetitive car, he barely could finish in Top 20. It was no surprise that he finished a season with empty books. That was a pretty laborious end of his Formula 1 career but Liuzzi was ready to continue his racing career.
Vitantonio had a busy schedule in 2012 as he raced in no less than four different series. He appeared in the International V8 Supercars, as well in the four races of the FIA World Endurance Championship. Driving in the International Superstars Series he finished 3rd while in the Campionato Italiano Superstars he was 2nd.
In 2013, Liuzzi raced again the WEC, this time in LMP class, but without too much success. He left Europe before the start of 2014 and moved to Japan, to race in the Super GT and Super Formula Series. The results weren’t at the highest level, so Liuzzi finished 16th in both competitions. He was also given a chance to race in the newly Formula E Championship. He raced in five events for Trulli team, ran by his compatriot and former F1 driver Jarno Trulli, and managed to pick two points.
Unfortunately, Trulli team ceased its operation before the start of the 2015-2016 season but Liuzzi continued his journey in the world of racing. He returned to FIA WEC, driving for Team ByKolles in two races. He also competed in GT Asia Series and appeared in Stock Car Brasil championship but he failed to achieve notable results.
In recent time, Liuzzi raced with FFF Racing Team by ACM. In 2016, he made a one-off appearance in the International GT Open round at Circuit Paul Ricard, driving a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 alongside another former Formula 1 driver Andrea Caldarelli. In 2017, he spent a season with the team in the International GT Open, finishing in tenth place.
Photo: f1fanatic.co.uk gettyimages.com eracemotorblog.it wikipedia.org twitter.com/realliuzzi
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