Энциклопедия Формулы 1:

Rambler's Top100


Алессандро Дзанарди

Zanardi, Alessandro

Алессандро Дзанарди / Zanardi, Alessandro

(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000



Кастельмаджиоре, Болонья

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Ф1: 1991-1999

Алессандро Дзанарди / Zanardi, Alessandro - 1991-1999




1991Team 7UP JordanJordan 191
Jordan 191
1992Minardi TeamMinardi M192
Minardi M192
1993Team LotusLotus 107B
Lotus 107B
1994Team LotusLotus 107C
Lotus 107C
Lotus 109
Lotus 109
1999Winfield WilliamsWilliams FW21
Williams FW21

The fall and rise of Alex Zanardi is one of motor sport's most heartening stories of the nineties. Sadly, there was to be no happy ending, as a cruel epilogue found the Italian all but crushed after a nightmare return to Grand Prix racing with Williams in 1999 which yielded not a single points finish, having gloried in three seasons of almost unbroken success racing for Chip Ganassi in the CART series.

The first chapter in the career of this untypically quiet and unassuming Italian began with seven seasons spent racing karts before he contested the national Formula 3 series in 1988. His promise shone through the following year but his Racing for Italy Ralt RT33 was handicapped when a change to unleaded fuel in mid-season hobbled his Toyota engine and his results inevitably suffered. However, switching to a Dallara chassis in 1990, Alessandro finished second in the championship just three points adrift of Roberto Colciago, winning two of the series' 12 rounds.

Having made an inauspicious debut in F3000 at the tail-end of the 1989 season, nothing much was expected of Zanardi when he took his place in the new II Barone Rampante team for the start of the 1991 campaign. Extensive pre-season testing gave the Italian an early advantage, but despite victories at Vallelunga and Mugello he eventually lost the championship to the more consistent finishing record of Christian Fittipaldi. Not that it really mattered, for by this time Zanardi had been chosen to fill the Jordan seat vacated by Michael Schumacher for the final three races of the season. His hopes of a place in the Tyrrell line-up for 1992 were dashed when the team opted for de Cesaris, but he secured a testing contract with Benetton and ultimately made three unhappy appearances for Minardi in place of his former F3000 adversary Fittipaldi, who had injured his back.

Alessandro was offered a chance to prove himself in 1993 when Mika Häkkinen left Lotus for McLaren, and Peter Collins was to be pleased with the Italian's early form. He drove a storming race at Monaco, where he was unlucky to miss the points, and his contribution to the development of the team's highly complex active suspension programme drew warm praise, but his season came to a premature end after an extremely violent 150 mph accident at Spa's notorious Eau Rouge which finished with his car destroyed and Zanardi in hospital with severe concussion. While he recovered from this shaking, he was rested in favour of Pedro Lamy for the remaining Grands Prix. The Portuguese hot-shot retained the ride for the 1994 season, although Zanardi was kept on in the role of test driver. As fate would have it, Lamy was subsequently badly injured in a testing accident at Silverstone, putting Alessandro back in for the balance of a dispiriting season as the once great Team Lotus heaved its dying breath.

Zanardi was forced to sit out the 1995 season, save for an occasional Lotus GT drive, but at the end of the year he secured a deal to compete in the Indy Car series with Target/Chip Ganassi Racing after glowing recommendations from Adrian Reynard and Rick Gorne. Alex adapted to CART in sensational manner. The brilliant Italian won 15 races from his 51 starts and claimed successive PPG Cup championships in 1997 and 1998. It is all the more perplexing, therefore, that, thus far, he has been unable to translate his considerable skills to any telling effect in a Formula 1 car. At the time of writing his place at Williams seems under threat, but if he keeps his seat perhaps a revitalised figure will reappear. Certainly no one would begrudge him another chance.

(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000

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