Fabrizio Barbazza

Being born in the town of Monza made motorsport a fixture in Fabrizio Barbazza's life from his earliest memories. When he was a teenager he began competing in motocross and won the Italian junior motocross title in 1981. When he got to the age of 18 he switched to car racing and in 1982 entered the Formula Monza series. This was a success and in 1983 Barbazza jumped straight into the Italian Formula 3 series, driving a Genoa Racing Ralt-Alfa RT3. After a year learning he moved to Venturini in 1984 and finished sixth in the championship. In 1985 he won four races and finished third behind Franco Forini and Alex Caffi.

Having no finance available to move up to Formula 3000, Barbazza then made a radical decision and went to the United States in order to enter the American Racing Series with Arciero Racing. He won four races in 1986 and took the title at his first attempt. Arciero promoted him into its CART team in 1987 and he won the CART rookie of the year award that season and finished third in the Indianapolis 500.

Barbazza wanted to race in Formula 1 and at the end of 1988 he went back to Italy and did his first F1 test with the AGS team. He did not have the money to race in 1989 and in 1990 took the decision to race in Formula 3000 with the Crypton Engineering team. When Crypton boss Patrizio Cantu took over AGS in 1991, Barbazza was able to make his F1 dream come true but it was a long haul as he failed to qualify for any races in the French car. In 1993 he finally found backing from the Beta tool company and joined the Minardi team, scoring points twice in his first four races before being replaced when the money ran out in midseason.

After that he found work racing a Ferrari sportscar in the IMSA series in the United States but in May 1995 he spun his car at Road Atlanta and was hit at high speed by another vehicle driven by Canadian Jeremy Dale. Barbazza suffered very serious head and chest injuries which left him in a critical condition on artifical respiration and in a coma. Barbazza recovered but admitted that he was not able to concentrate properly after that and did not return to racing. He turned his attention to designing new crash barriers and ran a kart circuit at the Monza track.