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Vitantonio Liuzzi

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Biography

Vitantonio "Tonio" Liuzzi (born 6 August 1981 in Locorotondo) is an Italian Formula One driver, who drives for Scuderia Toro Rosso. Having once lived in Hemel Hempstead in England where he shared an apartment with Red Bull Racing driver Christian Klien, Liuzzi now lives in Pescara, Italy.

Vitantonio Liuzzi, like most auto racing drivers, began his career at the age of 9 in kart racing (1991). Highlights of his early career include winning the 1993 Italian Karting Championship, and in 1995, taking second place in the Karting World Championship and fifth place in the European Championship. His karting career culminated when winning the Karting World Championship in 2001. He managed to beat Formula One champion Michael Schumacher in one race the same year at Kerpen, the German's 'home' kart track.

Having long listed former Formula One world champions Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell as his idols, Liuzzi's form in Formula 3000 led to speculation that Ferrari might want to employ him, either as a test driver at their Formula One team, or at Sauber, the Formula One team with whom they were then most closely associated as an engine supplier. Indeed, he had a test drive with Sauber in September, 2004, but ultimately lost out on a race seat to Jacques Villeneuve. In November, 2004 he was given another test drive, this time with Red Bull. This led to him joining Red Bull for 2005. Initially it seemed that he might be given the race seat alongside David Coulthard, but the team favoured Christian Klien, leaving Liuzzi with the position of test driver. Despite Klien's good performances in the first three races of the season, Red Bull abided by an agreement they made with Liuzzi and Klien before the season that they would both have a chance to race. They announced that Liuzzi would replace Klien for the San Marino, Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix. Liuzzi impressed, scoring his maiden point on his debut after both BAR drivers were disqualified from the San Marino race. After the Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix he was given another race at the European Grand Prix, before his seat was handed back to Klien for the Canadian Grand Prix.Liuzzi driving the Toro Rosso STR1 during the 2006 Canadian Grand Prix.

Following Red Bull's purchase of the Minardi team (renamed Scuderia Toro Rosso or Team Red Bull in Italian), Liuzzi was rewarded with a race seat in the "B-team". At the United States Grand Prix, he scored the team's first point, with an eighth place finish after a race-long battle with Coulthard and Nico Rosberg. However, that was the only point he and the team scored in 2006.Liuzzi driving for STR at the 2007 Bahrain Grand Prix.

On the August 10, it was confirmed by Toro Rosso that Sebastien Bourdais will drive for the team next year, leaving Liuzzi currently without a seat for 2008. Liuzzi's manager, former Lotus boss Peter Collins, has confirmed that Liuzzi wishes to continue his involvement in F1. He has been linked to a role within the Williams team.

In addition to his native Italian, Liuzzi speaks English and French. He is also known for his piercings: presently three, in his left upper ear, left eyebrow and left lower ear.



 


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