Name: Giancarlo Fisichella
Date of Birth: 14th January 1973
Place of Birth: Rome, Italy
F1 Debut: Australia 1996
Fisichella began racing relatively late, at the age of 11 (most drivers are karting from very early ages), but progressed well to join the F3 Championship in 1992.
He joined Minardi in 1996, and his debut race was in Australia that year. He was only with Minardi for one year, before joining Eddie Jordanís self-named team in 1997. He stayed there for a couple of years, gathering vital experience and impressing Benetton boss Flavio Briatore. It was actually Briatoreís doing that Fisichella got the drive for Jordan, and it wasnít long before Briatore had snatched him up for his own team. Fisichella drove for Benetton from 1998 through to 2001, alongside Jenson Button.
The relationship between Fisichella and Briatore wasnít smooth sailing towards the end though, and Fisichella effectively swapped seats with Jarno Trulli in 2002, going back to Jordan for another couple of years.
A brief stint at Sauber, and then he joined current team Renault in 2005. Renault is also headed by Flavio Briatore, but they were very professional about the whole affair, despite the fact that the team were slightly favouring new wonder boy Fernando Alonso. It must also have rankled Fisichella a little bit when his Sauber team mate Felipe Massa secured a drive at Ferrari. An Italian and therefore Ferrari fan, itís an ultimate goal of Fisichellaís to drive for the red team.
Having won 3 F1 races out of almost 200 Grand Prix starts, many people are starting to question whether Fisichella has lost his edge. Interestingly, there has been talk that working with Alonso did much more harm to Fisichella than may have been obvious at the time, as the double World Champion is not afraid of using mind games to get one over on his team mate. Weíve seen evidence of this in 2007 with the recent Lewis Hamilton qualifying fiasco.
Fisichella appears to be lacking confidence this season, but it should cheer him to know that he has not been out-paced by rookie team mate Heikki Kovalainen. However, the recent McLaren troubles have thrown Fernando Alonsoís future plans into doubt, and itís no secret that Renault would love to have him back.
They have yet to confirm their driver line up for 2008, so Giancarlo must be keeping his fingers crossed that he features in their plans.