Luca Badoer gets the Ferrari hot seat

11 August, 2009

Luca Badoer (born in Montebelluna, Veneto on January 25, 1971) has raced in Formula 1 for Scuderia Italia, Minardi and Forti Corse teams. Currently he is a test driver for the Scuderia Ferrari who have announced he will replace injured driver Felipe Massa after the planned replacement driver, Michael Schumacher, withdrew due to a neck injury. Badoer will be in the Ferrari cockpit for the European Grand Prix weekend starting on 21 August in Valencia.

Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo announced, “In agreement with Stefano Domenicali, we have therefore decided to give Luca Badoer the chance to race for the Scuderia after he has put in so many years of hard work as a test driver.”

Prior to reaching Formula One, he graduated through the time-honoured route of karting, in which he was Italian champion. He beat Alex Zanardi in the final round of the 1990 Italian Formula 3 Championship. In 1991 he won four races in a row, but was disqualified after a technicality concerning his tyres. For 1992 he was offered a ride with Team Crypton for the F3000 Championship, in which he emerged as champion.

His debut Formula One season in 1993 was mired by Scuderia Italia’s uncompetitive Lola chassis, which, despite Ferrari engines, was the slowest car in the championship in terms of qualifying pace. He regularly beat his vastly experienced team-mate Michele Alboreto, but lost out to him for the second drive when Scuderia Italia merged with Minardi for the 1994 season. He was retained as test driver however, and took over the drive in 1995 when Alboreto retired. In the underfunded team his best results were eighth places in Canada and Hungary and ninth in Japan. In 1996 he switched to Forti Corse, where he was only able to qualify for six of the ten races the team entered, which folded after that year’s British Grand Prix.

In 1997 Badoer began his long spell as Ferrari’s test driver, a role he continues to perform. He returned to racing for one season in 1999, with the Minardi team. But holds the dubious distinction of being the driver who has competed in the most Grands Prix (48) without scoring a single point. He nearly achieved his first points finish in the 1999 European Grand Prix when a strong drive saw Badoer lying in 4th place with only 13 laps remaining. Unfortunately the gearbox on his Minardi subsequently failed and television cameras showed Badoer weeping by his stricken car.

Badoer was unable to find a satisfactory race seat in Formula One after 1999, and he became a permanent test driver for Ferrari. He covers thousands of kilometres at the Mugello and Fiorano test circuits each year and it is likely that Badoer has driven more kilometres in a Ferrari F1 car than any other Italian in history.

Now he has an opportunity to score those elusive points as he will replace Ferrari’s regular driver, injured and recovering, Felipe Massa at the European Grand Prix in Valencia (until Massa is fit to return to the wheel).

Michael Schumacher was set to replace the Massa and make a historic comeback to Formula 1 after his retirement in 2006, however, fears surrounding his neck muscles and an injury in a German superbike race earlier in the year forced him to pull out. This meant that Badoer, the nominated reserve driver, will replace the injured Massa instead.

Badoer’s Formula One results

Year

Entrant

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

Pts

1993

Scuderia Italia

RSA
Ret

BRA
12

EUR
DNQ

SMR
7

ESP
Ret

MON
DNQ

CAN
15

FRA
Ret

GBR
Ret

GER
Ret

HUN
Ret

BEL
13

ITA
10

POR
14

JPN
DNS

AUS
DNS


0

1995

Minardi

BRA
Ret

ARG
DNS

SMR
14

ESP
Ret

MON
Ret

CAN
8

FRA
13

GBR
10

GER
Ret

HUN
8

BEL
Ret

ITA
Ret

POR
14

EUR
11

PAC
15

JPN
9

AUS
DNS

0

1996

Forti GP

AUS
DNQ

BRA
11

ARG
Ret

EUR
DNQ

SMR
10

MON
Ret

ESP
DNQ

CAN
Ret

FRA
Ret

GBR
DNQ

GER
DNS

HUN
DNS

BEL
DNS

ITA
DNS

POR
DNS

JPN
DNS


0

1999

Minardi Ford

AUS
Ret

BRA
DNS

SMR
8

MON
Ret

ESP
Ret

CAN
10

FRA
10

GBR
Ret

AUT
13

GER
10

HUN
14

BEL
Ret

ITA
Ret

EUR
Ret

MAL
Ret

JPN
Ret


0


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