Giancarlo Fisichella Sumar
Giancarlo was runner up in karts before joining his first car racing team, Formula Alfa Boxer, in 1991. He then competed for three seasons in the Italian Formula Three series, racing for RC Motorsport. He was runner up in 1993, but he clinched the title in 94, the same year he won the Monaco Formula Three race, as well as one of the two heats of the international invitation race at Macau.
Switching to the International Touring Car Championship as a driver
for Alfa Romeo in 95 and 96 didn't mean that his love for open wheelers had diminished, and he made his Formula One debut in 1996, with Minardi, until he was replaced with Giovanni Lavaggi. Giancarlo thrived when he moved to Jordan in 1997, taking a second place in the Belgian Grand Prix, even leading the German Grand Prix before retiring with mechanical problems. Finishing the 97 season, 8th place overall, he moved to the Benetton team for 1998, where he still remains. Here he achieved the first pole position of his career, as well as two second places, finishing the season 9th overall, with 16 points.
The Italian appeared to be one of Formula Ones rising new stars, but the 99 season didn't turn out the way the young driver had hoped. Finishing the season in ninth with only thirteen points, he was hoping for a turn around in 2000, something that failed to eventuate. 2001 saw him partnered with Jenson Button after his long-term partner, Alexander Wurz was dropped from the team. Team boss Flavio Briatore announced late in 2000 that Giancarlo wouldn't be starting 2002 with the team when it made the switch to Renault and he was true to his word.
After a dismal year the Italian driver switched places with Jarno Trulli at Jordan where he started 2002 alongside Japanese rising star, Takuma Sato. It wasn't the season he was hoping for and when the Japanese GP came to a close in October, Giancarlo had just seven points to his name, courtesy of three fifth placed finishes and a sixth. Now with Ford power behind the EJ13, the Italian driver is hoping for a much better 2003.
But the 2003 was one of the Italian's most difficult season, even if he won his first GP in Brazil. His motivation suffered, having to drive a Jordan that didn't shine in the performance or reliability departments. A fresh new challenge awaited Giancarlo in 2004 at Sauber.
11th position with Sauber in the championship may not have been a dream result for Fisichella in 2004, but nine points paying positions is nothing to be sniffed at. The downfall of Fisichella's season was the teams inability to get the Bridgestone shod C23 to work well in qualifying conditions. As a result, Fisichella often started further back in the field opting to run a heavy fuel load and gain places in the later stages of the race. It wasn't exciting, but it worked well for Fisichella.
The Italian found himself back at Renault in 2005 in what was a two-year deal with the Anglo-French outfit. Fisichella's season got off to a dream start as he claimed Pole Position and the race win in Australia but sadly for him, that was the highlight of a tough season. While team-mate Fernando Alonso claimed the championship and Renault the Constructors' title, Fisichella would only appear on the podium twice more following his Melbourne win.
Out-paced by Alonso all season, Fisichella has to turn this around in 2006 in what could be a make or break season, his tenth in the sport.
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