giorgio pantano

"In only his third season of car racing he became the complete package. Overcame pre-season disappointment to help build Coloni into a title contender. Three excellent wins, and racecraft is better than anyone's. Of this year's crop likely to go the furthest" - Autosport Magazine Formula 3000 seasonal review
Giorgio Pantano started his career in kart racing, where he quickly became regarded as one of the most outstanding drivers of his era. His grand reputation was backed by a multitude of wins including three junior World Championship titles and two European titles.
He made his car-racing debut in 1999 in the Formula Palmer Audi Winter Series in Britain in which he was a frontrunner for the whole season. He also tested for Team Astromega F3000 in Barcelona.
In 2000 Giorgio made his debut in the Formula 3 Championship with the Swiss KMS team, where he caused a sensation by winning the first round at Zolder.
Pantano shone through a competitive field and clenched the title with three victories and seven other podium finishes.
Pantano had made a grand impression and completed several successful tests for the Benetton Formula 1 team.
Having signed for International F3000 Team Astromega in 2001, Pantano experienced a season of technical difficulties yet proved to be a demon over taker and at the last race of the season he confirmed his ability by winning the Monza race in his first season in the series. Pantano also tested for McLaren Mercedes in F1 and produced some very competitive lap times. Pantano took the prestigious title of Autosprint International Driver of the Year, a title also awarded to the likes of Michael Schumacher and Jarno Trulli.
Expecting to line up with F3000’s top team, Super Nova, the 2002 season looked promising for Pantano. After a scuffle for two seats from three drivers the Italian had to settle for a seat with the small Italian Coloni team instead. Pantano’s determination and skill was evident when he won the race in Barcelona for Coloni, their first race win in six years of participation in International F3000. He followed this up with a dominant performance at Hockenheim in Germany taking pole position and a convincing win. Performance with the Coloni team continued apace with Giorgio taking his third win of the season at Spa.
Pantano finished in 2nd position in the championship.

Career Highlights

Signs for Jordan Ford to race in the Formula One World Championship.
International Formula 3000 racing with Durango. 3rd in the championship. Two pole positions & two wins. First driver to win races with three different teams.
International Formula 3000 racing with Coloni. Three race wins, three 3rds, three 4ths one 8th. 2nd position in the Championship. Won the two seater Minardi Formula One car race at Donington Park.
"Best relationship driver with team" at the Winning Attitudes Awards 2002.
Test driver in F1 for Williams BMW. Appeared in Hewlett Packard commercial with Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher.
Debut in International F3000 with Team Astromega – Two DNFs, one 8th, one 7th and one 5th plus race winner in Monza, last race of season.
McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 – tested in Jerez circuit for two days, covered 90 laps, very competitive lap times compared to team’s race and test drivers. No physical problems. No times issued by McLaren Mercedes
Autosprint International Driver of the Year - Winner
German F3 Champion in first year of racing in series
Swiss Formula 3 Championship race, Hockenheim – 1st
Benetton Formula 1 test in Jerez
Benetton Formula 1 test in Valencia, ½ day in Monza
Team Astromega F3000 test in Barcelona
World Championship Formula Super A – 3rd (only kart race in 1999)
Formula Palmer Audi winter series – 3rd in Championship (4 races)
Tested Team Astromega F3000 car in Barcelona
Paris Bercy Cup - 3rd
World Championship Formula Super A - 3rd
European Champion - Formula A
European Champion - Formula A
Italian Champion - Junior
World Champion - Junior
Italian Champion - Junior
European Champion - Junior
World Champion - Junior
Started Kart racing

On the second corner of the first lap car's nose and wishbone were damaged by Sperafico. Pitted to change nosecone. Raced from 25th up to 10th. Fighting for 9th with Piccini on last lap. Piccini droves into Giorgio. Finished 19th as a result of Piccini clash.
Pushed onto the grass by Friesacher at the first corner. Recovered to 11th then up to 9th. Spun down to 11th in the final stages.
Gained one place at the first corner otherwise an uneventful race with handling problems.
10th in qualifying despite a chassis imbalance. A first corner accident for the third time in four races meant that Giorgio had to pit for a new back wing. On track again he was three laps down but managed to finish 15th and set the fastest lap. The accident happened when Friesacher and Bourdais collided and spun in front. With nowhere to go he was rammed heavily from the back by Mark Webber.
Wrong choice of steering rack ratio caused poor qualifying, but he again showed pace in the race before a missed gearchange spun the car into retirement.
Giorgio's 35th car race. Qualified 10th but was scuppered by an errant rival who collided with him on the opening lap. He gained some consolation by setting the fastest lap for the second time this season.
Qualified 11th and got into sixth place but had to back off to stay on the circuit. Raced up to ninth and passed Saelens for eighth. Unable to dislodge Haberfeld despite constant pressure.
Qualified 10th. Raced hard into 7th place but finished in the gravel.
Best finish of the season after a storming drive through the pack. Recovered from a nasty moment in qualifying on Friday.
Great start and steady climb through the places to take his first points of the season.
Quick in qualifying but at the wrong time in the session. Drove extremely well to make up eight places on his starting position.
Sensational qualifying and then race win to round off Giorgio's debut season in Formula 3000. Only his 41st motor race.