Vitantonio “Tonio” Liuzzi was born in Locorotondo, Italy, on 6 August 1981. He began kart racing at the age of 9. During his time as a kart racing driver he won the Italian Karting Championship (1993) and the Karting World Championship (2001), amongst other successes.
In 2001 Liuzzi debuted in single-seater racing, taking second place in the German Formula Renault championship. The following year he competed in the German Formula Three championship, where he came in ninth overall. During the year he also test drove for F1 team Williams. In 2003 he was signed by Red Bull’s F3000 team. He ended the season in fourth position. Continuing on in F3000, he joined the Arden team for 2004 and took the title that season.
Vitantonio Liuzzi made his Formula One debut in 2005, racing for Red Bull, sharing his position on the team with Christian Klien. He scored his first point during his first race at San Marino that year. In 2006 Liuzzi enjoyed his first full F1 season racing for Toro Rosso. He earned the team’s only point at the United States Grand Prix, though his consistency was praised. The 2007 season with Toro Rosso was challenging and Liuzzi scored once at the Grand Prix in China. He joined Force India as the third driver for the 2008 season. In 2009 he raced the last five rounds for Force India. He became a full-time driver for Force India in 2010.
Formed in October 2007 by a consortium of Indian businessmen, Force India F1 Team has evolved from the Jordan Grand Prix team established by Eddie Jordan in 1991. At that time the team enjoyed a measure of success, but financial woes led to the sale of team to the Midland group in 2005 resulting in it being renamed Midland F1 Racing. The ink had barely dried on the contract, when the team was sold to Spyker Cars near the end of the 2006 season, less than a year after being acquired. Ownership changed again at the end of the 2007 F1 season, with the name changing to Force India Formula One Team.
Following all the upheaval of the previous years, the 2008 F1 season got underway with Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil as drivers, and Vitantonio Liuzzi, Roldan Rodriguez and Giedo van der Garde as test drivers for Force India. The team looked set to score its first point at Monaco with Adrian Sutil in fourth place, but he collided with Kimi Räikkönen near the end of the race. Sutil was found to be at fault.
The same drivers were retained by Force India for the 2009 F1 season. The 2009 Chinese Grand Prix almost presented Sutil with the team’s first points, when Sutil’s car aquaplaned in the wet weather and crashed with just six laps to go. Later that same year, at the Belgian GP, Fisichella finished the race less than a second behind winner Kimi Räikkönen, thereby earning Force India’s first podium finish and first F1 championship points. Test driver Liuzzi stepped in as team driver in September 2009 when Fisichella moved over to Scuderia Ferrari for the rest of the season. Liuzzi qualified seventh for the 2009 Italian Grand Prix, with Sutil qualifying second. Sutil passed the finish line fourth on race day, with Liuzzi forced to retire due to gear box failure on his car. The team finished the season in ninth place.
On February 9 Force India unveiled its new car for the 2010 season – the VJM03. Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi will be the team’s drivers, with Paul di Resta as the team’s test driver. The first race of the season in Bahrain saw Liuzzi finishing in ninth position and scoring 2 points, while Sutil came in twelfth, after recovering from an incident in the first lap. Fans are no doubt interested to see the progress of Force India in the 2010 F1 Championship season.