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Ricardo Zonta
Ricardo Zonta 2007 Curitiba.jpg
Zonta in 2007, as a Stock Car Brasil driver
Nationality Brazil Brazilian
Formula One World Championship career
Active years 19992001, 20032006
Teams BAR, Jordan, Toyota, McLaren (Test Driver), Renault (Test Driver)
Races 37 (36 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 3
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1999 Australian Grand Prix
Last race 2005 United States Grand Prix
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years 1998, 2008
Teams AMG-Mercedes, Peugeot
Best finish 3rd (2008)
Class wins 0

Ricardo Luiz Zonta (born March 23, 1976 in Curitiba) is a Brazilian racing driver.

Contents

Early career

Born in Curitiba, Brazil, Zonta began karting in 1987, winning his first race shortly thereafter. The following year, he was runner-up for the Curitiba Karting Championship, and in 1991, he won the title. He continued karting until 1992, finishing 4th in the São Paulo Karting Championship before progressing to single-seaters for 1993. He finished 6th in the Brazilian Formula Chevrolet Championship, and then in 1994, came 5th in the Brazilian Formula Three Championship. A year later, Zonta won both the Brazilian and South American Formula Three Championships.

Moving to Europe in 1996, Zonta competed in the International Formula 3000 Championship for Draco Racing, winning two races and finishing 4th overall. In the same year, he became the first Brazilian to compete in International Touring Cars, with Mercedes. In 1997, he won three races and the Formula 3000 championship. He also took home the "Golden Helmet" award for best international driver for his efforts. The Jordan Formula One team signed him as their official test driver following his championship, and in 1998, he was signed by McLaren boss Ron Dennis. Zonta tested with the McLaren F1 team in 1998, and concurrently won the FIA GT Championship (GT1 class) and the "Golden Helmet" award in the "world prominence" category.

In October 1998, immediately after winning the FIA GT championship, Zonta signed up with the B.A.R. Formula One racing team as one of its race drivers for the 1999 season [1], [2], after rejecting offers from Jordan and Sauber [3].

Formula One career

Zonta qualifying in place of an injured Ralf Schumacher at the 2005 United States Grand Prix.

In 1999, Zonta started as an F1 race driver alongside 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve at new team B.A.R. Zonta injured his foot in an accident during practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix, and was forced to miss three races. He also had a large accident at Spa-Francorchamps, and finished the season with no championship points. Zonta remained with B.A.R for the 2000 season, scoring his first world championship point with a 6th place in the opening race. He had another large accident when his front suspension broke during testing at Silverstone, but continued the season, scoring points in both the Italian and United States Grands Prix, to finish 14th in the championship. Replaced by Olivier Panis for the 2001 season, Zonta became the third driver for the Jordan team, replacing the injured Heinz-Harald Frentzen for one race, and then again when Frentzen was sacked, but was overlooked to replace him for the remainder of the season. In 2002, he decided to focus on the Telefonica World Series, which he won. Zonta was then hired as test driver for the Toyota F1 team in 2003, retaining the position in 2004. Towards the end of the season, the team sacked Cristiano da Matta from a race seat, and Zonta drove in four Grands Prix. In Belgium a brilliant fourth place went beckoning when engine failure struck three laps from the finish. In Suzuka the team hired Jarno Trulli and Zonta had to sit the event out, however the team allowed him to compete in his home race, the Brazilian Grand Prix, which he finished in 13th. He continued as a test driver for Toyota in 2005, alongside veteran French pilot Olivier Panis. At the US Grand Prix later that year, he stood in for an injured Ralf Schumacher and took his place on the grid, only for Toyota, like the other six Michelin-shod teams, to withdraw from the race due to safety concerns. 2006 saw Zonta continue with Toyota as the teams third and test driver.

Ricardo Zonta was confirmed as test driver for the Renault Formula One team for the 2007 season on 6 September 2006. [1]

In 2007, Zonta entered the Stock Car Brasil series in parallel with the work for the Renault team. [2]

In 2008, Zonta kicked off his sportscar career by contesting the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Peugeot Sport, driving the #9 car alongside Franck Montagny & F1 tester Christian Klien. He is also driving in the Grand Am Championship in America with Krohn Racng and is Team owner and Driver of Panasonic racing in the stock car series in Brazil.

Complete Formula One results

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 WDC Pts.
1999 British American Racing BAR 01 Supertec V10 AUS
Ret
BRA
DNS
SMR
MON
ESP
CAN
Ret
FRA
9
GBR
Ret
AUT
15
GER
Ret
HUN
13
BEL
Ret
ITA
Ret
EUR
8
MAL
Ret
JPN
12
NC 0
2000 Lucky Strike Reynard BAR Honda BAR 002 Honda V10 AUS
6
BRA
9
SMR
12
GBR
Ret
ESP
8
EUR
Ret
MON
Ret
CAN
8
FRA
Ret
AUT
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
14
BEL
12
ITA
6
USA
6
JPN
9
MAL
Ret
14th 3
2001 B&H Jordan Honda Jordan EJ11 Honda V10 AUS MAL BRA SMR ESP AUT MON CAN
7
EUR FRA GBR GER
Ret
HUN BEL ITA USA JPN 19th 0
2004 Panasonic Toyota Racing Toyota TF104B Toyota V10 AUS
TD
MAL
TD
BHR
TD
SMR
TD
ESP
TD
MON
TD
EUR
TD
CAN
TD
USA
TD
FRA
TD
GBR
TD
GER
TD
HUN
Ret
BEL
10
ITA
11
CHN
Ret
JPN BRA
13
22nd 0
2005 Panasonic Toyota Racing Toyota TF105 Toyota V10 AUS
TD
MAL
TD
BHR
TD
SMR
TD
ESP
TD
MON
TD
EUR
TD
CAN
TD
USA
DNS
FRA GBR
TD
GER
TD
HUN
TD
TUR
TD
ITA
TD
BEL
TD
BRA
TD
JPN
TD
CHN
TD
NC 0

References

  1. ^ Grandprix.com article, retrieved September 6, 2006
  2. ^ Gazeta do Povo, retrieved April 3, 2007

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Gabriel Furlán
Formula Three Sudamericana Champion
1995
Succeeded by
Gabriel Furlán
Preceded by
Jörg Müller
International Formula 3000 Champion
1997
Succeeded by
Juan Pablo Montoya
Preceded by
Bernd Schneider
FIA GT Champion
1998 with:
Klaus Ludwig
Succeeded by
Olivier Beretta
Karl Wendlinger
Preceded by
Franck Montagny
Telefónica World Series Champion
2002
Succeeded by
Franck Montagny







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