Gianmaria Bruni

Born in Rome, Gianmaria Bruni began racing at the age of 10 having told to the director of the Roman kart track known as La Pista d'Oro that he was 12. Using a borrowed kart he made a good impression and gradually began to climb the motor racing ladder. In 1997 he began racing in Italian Formula Renault Campus and in his second season in the series won the title and moved up to the European Formula Renault series with Roberto Cavallari's JD Motorsport, beating Antonio Pizzonia to the title in the final round. In 2000 he moved to Britain and raced for Richard Dutton's Fortec team in British Formula 3 and was fifth in the championship in his first year. He stayed on for a second season in 2001 and was fourth in the championship, scoring one win. Unable to make the jump into the FIA International Formula 3000 Championship, he settled to race in occasional outings in the Formula 3000 European series with Coloni and ADM. He did a deal with Renato Melchioretto's ADM for 2003 and battled for the European title with Augusto Farfus Jr, losing out at the end of the season. By that point, however, he had been named as the Minardi team test driver and had impressed the team with his speed in the Friday morning sessions. Nonetheless he had to find considerable backing to secure a Minardi drive in 2004. It was not a very successful year.