Franco Colapinto, the Argentine who drove a Formula 1 car after 23 years

Franco Colapinto, the Argentine who drove a Formula 1 car after 23 years
Franco Colapinto, the Argentine who drove a Formula 1 car after 23 years

He drove the car with the number 45 in the first of the Silverstone free practice sessions. The first race of this category was held on that circuit in 1950 and the British Grand Prix has never stopped being held there. In practice, Colapinto qualified 18th with a time of 1.29.078 for the return.

Franco Colapinto, an Argentine once again in Formula 1

The last Spanish driver to compete in the top category of world motorsport was Gastón Mazzacane. He did so during the 2000 and 2001 seasons but in a car with no chance of being a real protagonist.

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Gaston Mazzacane with Minardi and Prost. The last Argentine in Formula 1 until the arrival of Colapinto. (Photo: A24.com)

In 2000 he was the second driver for the Minardi team. He finished in 12 of 17 races and his best position was eighth. The following year he was hired by Alain Prost’s team, but he only ran in 4 races and was replaced by a Brazilian driver due to the arrival of an advertiser from that country.

The drought lasted 23 years until Gaston’s good performances in Formula 2, with the alternative Williams team, allowed him to make this leap, no less than in the “Cathedral of Formula 1”.

Colapinto is the “tester” or third driver for Williams, but his great performance in the lower category has put him in consideration for one of the 20 seats reserved for Formula 1.

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Being one of the best in Formula 2, the Williams team promoted him to the top category. (Photo: courtesy of automundo)

Colapinto, to play in the first division

Franco is in his first season in the category that is a sort of “support” for the top series. His good performances have placed him fifth in the world championship. He races for the MP Motorsport team and has already won. He is the first rookie in F2 to win a race. That is why Williams, which has him as a test driver, gave him this opportunity on the legendary Silverstone circuit. Even before Zak O’Sullivan, the other member of the Williams academy.

All of these immediate antecedents convinced Williams boss James Wolves to make Franco’s Formula 1 debut this Friday.

A diamond in the rough in Formula 1

Franco was born in Pilar, province of Buenos Aires and is only 21 years old. He is very young, since for example Max Verstappen The current champion won his first title at the age of 24 and Sebastian Vettel He was 23 years old when he first won the World Cup. Colapinto has been growing patiently and with very good performances from the lower categories.

Colapinto, like the great champions, started out in the karting category. From there he went to Spain where he won one of the Formula 4 competitions in that country.

The following year he participated full-time in this championship and was crowned champion with almost 100 points advantage over the runner-up.

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With talent and good results, Franco Colapinto arrived in Formula 1 at just 21 years old. (Photo: Courtesy of automundo)

With a fourth place in F3, he took the next step to make this dream come true. On October 3, 2023, Colapinto announced at the headquarters of the Argentine Automobile Club (ACA) that he would join Formula 2 starting in 2024.

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Franco’s name and the Argentine flag in the Williams team box. (Photo: TV capture)

MP Motorsport signed him and confirmed him as a regular driver. Now, he has already made his first turns in Formula 1. Another Argentine in the top flight, after 23 years.

 
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