Antonio Pizzonia

Full Name:
Antonio Reginaldo Pizzonia jr
Born:
11th September 1980 (Age 38)
Manaus, Amozonas State
Nationality:
Brazilian
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Born in Manaus in the Brazilian Amazon, the teenage Antônio Pizzonia enjoyed a faultless record in Britain’s junior formulae as he was much hyped as "the next big thing". However, the fragile nature of motor racing reputation was amply illustrated by his struggles as a Grand Prix driver.

Background and early racing career

His humble upbringing was in stark contrast to some other drivers from his homeland. But what Pizzonia lacked financially, he made up for in natural talent as he starred in national karting from 1991.

He switched to Brazilian Formula Ford when 14 years old before finishing second in the 1996 North American Barber Dodge Championship. Despite speaking little English, Pizzonia moved to Britain as a wild young talent.

From the moment he won the 1997 Formula Vauxhall Junior winter series to clinching the British Formula 3 title for Manor Motorsport three years later Pizzonia enjoyed a run of success. 1998 British FVJ and 1999 Formula Renault Champion, he also tested for the Benetton and Arrows Formula 1 teams in 2000.

He joined the Williams-affiliated Petrobras Junior Team for the 2001 Formula 3000 season and won at Hockenheim. But that was his only victory in two years with the team as accidents thwarted his 2002 title ambitions.

Formula 1 with Jaguar and Williams

However, having tested for Williams-BMW that season, he was then chosen as Mark Webber’s Jaguar Racing team-mate for the 2003 F1 World Championship. His season began with Pizzonia rolling a road car with journalists on board and although no one was hurt, the incident brought unwanted extra attention before his debut in Australia. Furthermore, he struggled to be competitive and the team was looking for an alternative as early as round five in Spain. He qualified eighth and finished ninth in Austria but was replaced by Justin Wilson after 11 lacklustre races with his reputation tarnished.

He resumed his role as Williams test driver in 2004 and spent the next two seasons as the team’s "super-sub". Ralf Schumacher was injured in the 2004 United States GP at Indianapolis and Pizzonia scored three seventh place finishes in his four GPs when deputising for the German.

However, it was the race he retired from that almost provided his greatest moment. Pizzonia was running third in Belgium when his gearbox failed. Sixth on the grid in Hungary was the best qualifying performance of his F1 career. When Nick Heidfeld left the team before the end of 2005, Pizzonia started another five GPs with seventh (again) on his return in Italy the highlight.

Subsequent career

Although that spelled the end of his F1 career, Pizzonia continued to strive for a career in open-wheel racing and rediscover the promise he once showed. He subsequently raced in Champ Cars, GP2, Superleague and Auto GP (including winning four times) as well as V8 stock cars and GT3 in Brazil.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2016 World Endurance Championship
Manor
1 0 0 0 41st 0.5
2015 Auto GP World Series
Zele Racing
4 1 4 2
50% win rate
1st 79
2014 Auto GP World Series
Zele Racing
2 0 1 0
0% win rate
14th 25
2013 World Endurance Championship
ADR-Delta
2 0 0 0 28th 6
2012 Auto GP World Series
Ombra
Zele Racing
4 0 2 2
50% win rate
9th 45
2011 Superleague Formula
Team Brazil
5 0 2 0
0% win rate
102
2009 Superleague Formula
Corinthians
15 5 3 0
0% win rate
264
2008 IRL IndyCar Series
Rocketsports Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
2008 Superleague Formula
Corinthians
10 0 1 0
0% win rate
234
2007 GP2 Series
Fisichella Motorsport
5 0 0 0
0% win rate
27th 1
2006 Champ Car World Series
Rocketsports Racing
4 0 0 0
0% win rate
18th 43
2005 F1 World Championship
BMW Williams F1
5 0 0 0
0% win rate
22nd 2
2004 F1 World Championship
BMW Williams F1
4 0 0 0
0% win rate
15th 6
2003 F1 World Championship
Jaguar Racing
11 0 0 0
0% win rate
21st 0
2002 FIA International F3000 Championship
Petrobras Junior Team
12 0 1 0
0% win rate
7th 18
2001 FIA International F3000 Championship
Petrobras Junior Team
12 1 2 1
9% win rate
6th 22
2000 European F3 Cup
Manor Motorsport
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
2000 Green Flag British F3 Championship 1st -