News and views on motorsports

Monday, May 24, 2004

Vitantonio Liuzzi is at it again

This Monaco weekend has been a good one for former World Karting Champions. As everyone knows of course, multiple world championship winner Jarno Trulli scored his first ever grand prix victory. Also winning for the third time this year in the F3000 support race was Vitantonia Liuzzi, World Kart Champion for year 2002.

In years past, Jarno's record in karting is absolutely unbelievable. He's won the world, European, Italian and North American Kart titles. In the world of karting, he's like the Michael Schumacher. It's great seeing someone who graduated from perhaps the very purest form of racing finally winning in Formula 1.

Liuzzi may not have had Jarno's past karting record but he graduated from straight into the German Formula 3 championship for year 2003. His maiden year saw him winning but once in the championship. I haven't actually watched this guy race so I can't comment on his driving style but from looking at his results, he's had quite a challenging first year in single seater Formula racing.

This year he's moved up a step and is now competing in the Formula 3000 championship, that last step of the ladder before Formula 1. In his second year racing single seaters, he has now won three out of three in that championship. His victories have not been perfect as they have not always been from pole but he's there when it counts, at the finish line.

Are we seeing another Kimi Raikkonen or Jarno Trulli in action here, I wonder. Well, we've seen some magnificent performers in junior formulae before that bombed out when taking that step into Formula 1. Anyone remember Jan Magnussen, winner of the British Formula 3 championship (along the way beating Aryton Senna's record for victories in a single season)? Or how about the perennial loser Jos Verstappen? Superb in karts, winner in the German Formula 3. Completely outclassed by Michael Schumacher at Benetton and a pretty average performer in all his teams?

Only time will tell and I watch Liuzzi's performances with great interest. I am certain he's also catching the eye of some of the managers, though there doesn't seem to be any Formula 1 tests in the horizon. I surely hope he does well. I'd think he deserves a shot at the top flight more than Verstappen at any rate.

In the meantime, I'm suddenly interested in buying a Trulli kart, built by the company run by Jarno's dad. Now if only the Euro would depreciate slightly to make it more affordable.

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