• Giancarlo Fisichella Profile

    Giancarlo Fisichella born January 14, 1973 in Rome, Italy, has enjoyed a long F1 career and has driven in Formula One for Minardi, Jordan, Benetton, Sauber, Renault, Force India and Ferrari when he replaced the injured Felipe Massa in 2009, he remains Ferrari's reserve driver for 2010. Giancarlo has won a total of 3 F1 races in his career so far.

    Giancarlo began his steps to F1 by racing karts as a youngster, in 1992 he took part in the Italian Formula Three championship finshing as runner up in 1993 and winning the title in 1994 taking wins at Monaco and Macau, however he was to leave open wheeled racing for a short spell in 1995 as he joined the Alfa Romeo team racing in the International Touring Car Championship. His first season in F1 came with the Minardi team in 1996, however the Italian team needed their drivers to bring funding with them and Fisichella could not offer this and he was replaced by Giovanni Lavaggi. Fisichella remained focused on securing another drive and for 2007 he joined the Jordan team where he would team up with Ralf Schumacher. Giancarlo impressed the team with some strong results including a podium in Canada and a 2nd place at a rain soaked Spa, it was performances like this that gave him a move to the Benetton team for 1998.

    His time at Benetton was to be a bit mixed, in 1998 the team had lost their 'works' engines and were using re-branded engines from 1997 but despite this Giancarlo took 2nd place at Montreal and Monaco, he took his first ever pole position at the Austrian Grand Prix. The 1999 season was another up and down year for Benetton the highlight coming at the Nurburgring when Fisichella looked set to take his 1st win until he spun off in wet conditions. In 2000 Benetton once again struggled to make any real impact at the front of the grid although Giancarlo did score some early season podiums. In 2001 he was to be up against a new team mate as Jenson Button joined the team, and the team was also bought out and re-branded to Renault. But it was another disappointing season and Fisichella was to rejoin Jordan for 2002.

    Just 7 points were scored for Giancarlo in 2002 as the Jordan team found it tough going with Honda engines and when Honda pulled out the team switched to Ford engines for 2003, this did nothing for the overall standing of the team but in 2003 Fisichella took his first win in F1 at the Brazilian GP. Battling with McLaren's Kimi Räikkönen amidst heavy rain and numerous crashes, Fisichella took the race lead on lap 54, soon before the race was red-flagged. However, he was demoted to second place on the podium, because Räikkönen was the race leader two laps prior to the red flag. Several days later, though, the FIA determined that Fisichella had already begun his 56th lap before the red flag, awarding the Italian his first F1 victory.

    However Fisichella was on the move once again, this time to join the Sauber, Fisichella had made no secret of his desire to drive for Ferrari and he seen Sauber as an ideal stepping stone as Sauber were running rebadged Ferrari engines. Ironically he was to team up with Felipe Massa who would make his way to Ferrari before Fisichella despite Giancarlo outpacing him during the 2004 season. Fisichella was to remain at Sauber until 2005 when he moved back to the Renault team, the call from Ferrari never came.

    He returned to Renault and faced up against Fernando Alonso, and it began well for Giancarlo as he won the opening race of the season in Australia but the season was to go the way of Alonso who seemed to have the much better pace and went on to win the 2005 title. But Giancarlo was a big part in the team winning the constructor's championship. 2006 was to follow a similar pattern for Giancarlo, despite winning from pole in Malaysia he failed to make an impact on Alonso who once again won the title. It was however the strongest season for Giancarlo as he finished 4th in the standings. Alonso was to leave the team for 2007 leaving Fisichella as the lead driver up against Heikki Kovalainen, however the form of the previous years seemed to have gone after switching tyres from Michelin to Bridgestone.

    2008 and another new team for Giancarlo as he moved to Force India, who were in fact the former Jordan team. Fisichella enjoyed his 200th GP at the Monaco GP, but he was to finish the season pointless as the team struggled to make any impact on the grid, Giancarlo was to remain with the team for 2009. With the car now powered by Mercedes Benz engines it was a much better season for Force India and Fisichella was to take the teams 1st ever pole position at Spa, and went on to score their first points by finishing a very close 2nd to Kimi Raikkonen in the race.

    Giancarlo was soon to realise his dream though, Ferrari were looking for a replacement for the injured Felipe Massa, and although the Maranello team initially gave the role to test driver Luca Badoer it was clear his performances were not up to the standard they expected. And on 3rd September 2009 it was announced that Fisichella would take the drive at Ferrari, his first race was to be at the Italian Grand Prix, quite a dream for many Italians. Fisichella remains as Ferrari's reserve driver for 2010 despite looking for a full time drive.