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Fisichella tries a Minardi

Another man expected to have a big F1 future is Minardi's test driver Giancarlo Fisichella, who had his first test with the Italian team last week at Imola.

Fisichella is only 22, but has been competing in racing for the last 11 years, enjoying much success, in karting up to the international level.

He started car racing in 1991 in Italian Formula Alfa Boxer - while still karting - and then in 1992 jumped straight into the competitive world of Italian Formula 3 racing. It was a gamble which paid off and he won a race in his first season, going on to finish with two victories in 1993, placing third in the championship, and winning the title in 1994 with 10 wins in 20 races including the Monaco F3 race.

Fisichella is a prot?g? of Marlboro Italy, which is trying to re-establish a strong Italian presence in F1 - there currently being only five Italians (Gianni Morbidelli, Pierluigi Martini, Luca Badoer, Andrea Montermini and Mimmo Schiatarella) in F1. A few years ago there were as many as 14 Italians involved in F1 in one season.

In case you are wondering, the year was 1989 and the 14 men were Michele Alboreto, Paolo Barilla, Enrico Bertaggia, Alex Caffi, Ivan Capelli, Andrea de Cesaris, Piercarlo Ghinzani, Nicola Larini, Pierluigi Martini, Stefano Modena, Sandro Nannini, Riccardo Patrese, Emanuele Pirro and Gabriele Tarquini.

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