Obituary: Renzo Zorzi 1946-2015

Italian ex-Formula 1 driver Renzo Zorzi has died at the age of 68

Obituary: Renzo Zorzi 1946-2015

He contested seven grands prix with the Williams and Shadow teams between 1975 and '77, taking a best result of sixth in Brazil in the last of those years.

A long-time Pirelli employee and test driver, Zorzi made steady progress through Italian and European Formula 3 in the early 1970s.

His career highlight was victory in European F3's Monaco showpiece in 1975, a surprise result in a chaotic race.

He had finished second on the road, 21 seconds adrift of Conny Andersson, having gained places when Alex Ribeiro and Tony Brise collided ahead of him.

When Andersson was penalised a minute for a jump-start, Zorzi found himself the winner by 0.89s from Patrick Neve - another brief Williams F1 driver - despite officials spending a while considering whether to exclude his GRD-Lancia for a marginal technical infringement.

Zorzi used that victory as the springboard to F1, securing a drive with the then-struggling Williams team for that year's Italian GP and getting within a respectable distance of team-mate Jacques Laffite. He finished 14th and last, delayed by a puncture.

The Italian began 1976 hoping for a full campaign with Frank Williams's outfit as it went into partnership with Walter Wolf.

He battled with team-mate Jacky Ickx - who had the new Hesketh-based 1976 car while Zorzi drove the '75 Williams chassis - in the Interlagos season-opener and finished just 2.5s behind the Belgian in ninth.

But that proved to be the end of his Williams career, as he was then dropped in favour of Michel Leclere and returned to F3 and sportscar racing.

Zorzi reappeared on the F1 grid with Shadow the following year as team-mate to Welshman Tom Pryce, and his breakthrough point came in round two at Interlagos - although he was the sixth of just seven finishers in a race of attrition.

Tragedy followed in the next GP at Kyalami. Zorzi pulled off with an engine problem, prompting marshal Frikkie Jansen van Vuuren to run across the track to attend to his car with a fire extinguisher. The teenage marshal was struck by Pryce, killing both.

Zorzi stayed on at Shadow for two more grands prix before being replaced by Riccardo Patrese.

He made further F1 appearances in Britain's Aurora series and secured semi-regular sportscar drives into the mid-1980s.

His last top-line outing was in the Monza 1000km round of the 1985 World Sportscar Championship - famously curtailed by a tree falling onto the circuit - where he finished sixth in a Brun Motorsport Porsche 956 alongside Oscar Larrauri and Massimo Sigala.

shares
comments
Ferrari chasing a pre-Canadian GP fix for F1 traction problems

Previous article

Ferrari chasing a pre-Canadian GP fix for F1 traction problems

Next article

Force India F1 team counting on luck in Monaco Grand Prix

Force India F1 team counting on luck in Monaco Grand Prix
Load comments
How F1's biggest crisis helped trigger its exciting 2021 season Plus

How F1's biggest crisis helped trigger its exciting 2021 season

Formula 1's return to Austria this weekend comes under exceedingly different circumstances to its last Spielberg visit, when F1 took its first tentative steps out of the global COVID shutdown. But the tightrope F1 walked in 2020 has ultimately led to the most exciting season of the hybrid era

Can Red Bull really win anywhere now it’s toppled a Mercedes F1 stronghold? Plus

Can Red Bull really win anywhere now it’s toppled a Mercedes F1 stronghold?

OPINION: Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reckoned Max Verstappen winning the French Grand Prix – an event where Mercedes had previously been dominant – would signal “we can beat them anywhere”. Here’s how that claim stacks up looking at the rest of the 2021 season

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2021
The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1 Plus

The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1

OPINION: The French Grand Prix offered a surprisingly interesting spectacle, despite the headache-inducing nature of the circuit. But IndyCar's Road America race offered far more in terms of action - and the increased jeopardy at the Elkhart Lake venue might be something Paul Ricard needs in future...

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2021
French Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

French Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The French GP was a weekend decided by tiny margins both at the front of the field, as Red Bull inflicted a comeback defeat on Mercedes, and in the battle for the minor points places. That's reflected in our driver ratings, where several drivers came close to a maximum score

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes Plus

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes

The French GP has been a stronghold for Mercedes since Paul Ricard's return to the calendar in 2018. But that all changed on Sunday, as a clever two-stop strategy guided Red Bull's Max Verstappen to make a race-winning pass on the penultimate lap - for once leaving Mercedes to experience the pain of late defeat it has so often inflicted on Red Bull

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push Plus

The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push

The age of the high-profile title sponsor is over, says JONATHAN NOBLE, but Formula 1’s commitment to technological innovation is attracting high-tech partners

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2021
How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era Plus

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era

The 1956 Italian Grand Prix was over for Juan Manuel Fangio, along with his hopes of winning the world championship – until his Ferrari team-mate (and title rival) voluntarily surrendered his own car so Fangio could continue. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls Peter Collins, a remarkable sportsman

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France Plus

The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021