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Luca Badoer

25th January 1971 (Age 49)
Montebelluna, Veneto
Most recent race (in database):

Luca Badoer has raced in more Grands Prix (50) without scoring a championship point than anyone else. He was Ferrari’s test driver throughout the team’s unprecedented success in the early 2000s but a somewhat sentimental opportunity to race for the team in 2009 proved to be a disaster.

Early career – controversy and success

He graduated from karts to the Italian Formula 3 series in 1989 with Pino Trivellato and won the following year’s final round with a MRD Racing Ralt RT33-Alfa Romeo. Badoer joined the new Supercars team for 1991 but a string of mid-season victories ended when his Dallara F391-Alfa Romeo was disqualified at Mugello for using an unscrutineered tyre. It was a bitter end to his title aspirations.

Badoer left the sourness behind and dominated Formula 3000 in his rookie year. His Team Crypton Reynard 92D-Cosworth won three races in a row and he clinched the title with another victory at Nogaro.

Formula 1 with Lola, Minardi and Forti

That success won promotion to Formula 1 in 1993 but his BMS Scuderia Italia Lola T93/30-Ferrari was way off the pace. Badoer finished seventh at Imola – the best result of his season and career – but the uncompetitive programme folded after the European season.

The team joined forces with Minardi in 1994, with Badoer as test driver. He returned to a race seat with the team in 1995 before switching to the even smaller Forti concern a year later. There were very occasional reminders of his pace, but Badoer rolled in Argentina and was too often seemingly disinterested.

The Ferrari years and disappointment at the Nürburgring

His F1 career appeared over when Forti closed its doors after the 1996 British GP so Badoer raced in the 1997 FIA GT series before joining Ferrari as test driver for 1998. It was a role that he held for over a decade – pounding the lonely tarmac at Fiorano to give Michael Schumacher an extra 10th of a second or so.

Badoer was not quite finished as a race driver however and he combined his Ferrari duties with racing for Minardi in 1999. That year’s chaotic European GP at the Nürburgring proved Badoer’s greatest and most frustrating day as an F1 driver. Changeable conditions and numerous accidents was recipe for a freak result. Badoer had worked his Minardi into fourth position – far higher than he had run before – only for his gearbox to let go just 13 laps from the finish and his frustration only too evident.

Badoer then concentrated on his testing role for Ferrari and had not raced in any category for almost a decade when Felipe Massa was injured while practising for the 2009 Hungarian GP. Badoer was rewarded for his loyalty but his performances in the European and Belgian GPs were perhaps the worst in the history of the great team. Hopelessly out of sorts, he was the slowest qualifier on both occasions. He finished last in Belgium as team-mate Kimi Räikkönen won the race.

Although Giancarlo Fisichella’s own travails after replacing his countryman put those performances in some context, those two GPs were a sad epitaph to Luca Badoer’s once-promising career. He continued with the team’s test operation for one more season.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2009 F1 World Championship
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
25th 0
1999 F1 World Championship
Fondmetal Minardi Ford
15 0 0 0
0% win rate
1996 F1 World Championship
Forti Grand Prix
6 (5) 0 0 0
0% win rate
1995 F1 World Championship
Minardi Scuderia Italia
16 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
1993 F1 World Championship
Lola BMS Scuderia Italia
12 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate
1992 FIA International F3000 Championship
Crypton Engineering
10 5 5 4
40% win rate
1st 46
1991 Italian F3 Championship 4th 34
1990 Italian F3 Championship 10th 13