The son of an Abarth racer, Corrado went to watch his brother Teo in a ski race when, getting bored, he rented a go-kart for the afternoon. He enjoyed the experience to such an extent that his father bought him one and he began to race seriously at the age of 12, becoming a Birel factory driver at 14. As soon as he was 18 he went into Formula 3 with a March 783 which had been used by his brother, who had also caught the racing bug but being older had been able to progress more quickly. Corrado scored several good placings in the Italian Formula 3 series and this led to an invitation to join Michele Alboreto in the Euroracing European F3 team in 1980 with March-Alfa Romeo 803s. He finished third in the championship, scoring two wins.