Renzo Zorzi Biography: Renzo Zorzi was an Italian racing driver who competed in seven Formula One Grands Prix for the Williams and Shadow teams between 1975 and 1977. He started in Formula Three while working for Pirelli before moving on to Formula One.
Renzo Zorzi Biography
Renzo Zorzi Biography: Renzo Zorzi was born in Ziano di Fiemme, Trentino, near the Austrian border, the son of a miner. He worked as an engineer for Pirelli before starting his racing career in 1972, driving a Tecno for Scuderia Mirabella in Italian Formula Three. On September 3, he debuted at Monza, failing to qualify for the final.
Renzo Zorzi Wiki
|Date Of Birth||12 December 1946|
|Birth Place||Ziano di Fiemme, Italy|
|Died||15 May 2015|
Renzo Zorzi F1 Career
Zorzi made a deal with Frank Williams in 1975 to drive one of his cars at the Italian Grand Prix. At this time, the Williams team was ailing, and they were using pay drivers to race the old FW03, which had yet to score a point this season. He qualified 22nd out of 28 cars, 0.71 seconds slower than his teammate Jacques Laffite in the recent FW04. Six laps behind the race’s victor, Clay Regazzoni, he finished 14th and last after a flat tire slowed his progress. This was the final race before Williams sold the car to Loris Kessel.
The arrangement continued at the first race of 1976, the Brazilian Grand Prix, although Walter Wolf now owned 60 percent of the team and renamed it Wolf-Williams. Jacky Ickx drove the new FW05, while teammate Zorzi drove the FW04. Zorzi qualified 17th out of 22 competitors, defeating Ickx, who qualified 19th. He finished tenth out of fourteen qualifiers, 2.44 seconds behind Ickx. However, his sponsorship money ran out, and he was replaced by Michel Leclère, ending his time with Williams. Zorzi returned to Formula Three with the Modus team for the remainder of 1976 and competed in sports cars. In a Jolly Club-entered Lancia Stratos, he finished ninth in the 1976 6 Hours of Vallelunga as part of the 1976 World Championship for Makes.
Zorzi returned to Formula One in 1977 with the Shadow team as a teammate to the highly regarded Welsh driver Tom Pryce, with the backing of their Italian client Franco Ambrosio. Ambrosio required an Italian driver as a condition of his financial support, and Zorzi was selected for this purpose rather than the team’s preference. At the first race in Argentina, while driving the team’s older DN5B, he qualified 21st out of the 21 competitors, moved up to 18th at the start, and then retired on the third lap due to a gearbox malfunction.
At the following race in Brazil, Zorzi qualified 18th and finished sixth out of seven in a race of attrition, earning his only World Championship point in his fourth Grand Prix. Pryce was in second place behind eventual victor Carlos Reutemann with seven laps remaining when his engine failed.
However, tragedy struck the South African contest that followed. Zorzi qualified 20th in the team’s new DN8 and was running near the rear of the field when he pulled off the track with a fuel leak caused by a malfunctioning metering unit. As he attempted to detach the oxygen pipes from his helmet before exiting the vehicle, a fire broke out in the trunk. Zorzi immediately left the car and activated the onboard fire extinguisher, reducing the flames. Several seconds later, after extinguishing the fire, two marshals carrying hand-held fire extinguishers ran across the track. The first marshal narrowly avoided the passing cars while crossing the track just beyond a blind crest, but the second marshal, Frederick Jansen Van Vuuren, was struck and killed by Zorzi’s teammate Pryce’s car. The fire extinguisher of Van Vuuren impacted Pryce’s helmet, causing fatal head and neck injuries.
The British press and some members of the Shadow team blamed Zorzi for the tragedy, claiming that his agitation in the cockpit while attempting to remove his oxygen pipe prompted the marshals to believe he required assistance and cross the track. Alan Jones, the future World Champion, replaced Pryce and outperformed Zorzi in the next two races. Zorzi qualified 20th at Long Beach and retired with a transmission failure; he qualified 24th in Spain and fled with an engine failure.
When Zorzi arrived in Monaco for the 1977 Monaco Grand Prix, he discovered that his car held the name of another Ambrosio protege, Riccardo Patrese, and that Patrese had replaced him without his knowledge.