Yesterday Williams announced signing of Pastor Maldonado, a Venezuelan driver, to partner Rubens Barrichello, the Brazilian. As a result, Williams will contest the 2011 F1 season with two Latin American drivers. There have been many drivers from Latin America in F1 and Argentina and Brazil also gave the world some World Champions. But having both drivers from that part of the world hasn’t been that common. Here is brief look back to the recent F1 history.
The last time a team had two drivers from Americas was in 2005 when Jacques Villeneuve (Canada) and Felipe Massa (Brazil) raced for Sauber.
The last time a team had both drivers from Latin America was a year earlier, in 2004, when Antonio Pizzonia (Brazil) moved up to Williams race seat for final 4 races alongside Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia).
Also in 2004 Brazilians Ricardo Zonta and Cristiano da Matta raced for Toyota. Zonta however entered the picture only after da Matta left, so although they were on the same team they never raced together as team mates. Similar scenario occurred in 2001 at Prost with Gaston Mazzacane (Argentina) and Luciano Burti (Brazil), they never raced together as it was Burti who replaced Mazzacane.
Year 2000 was another year with two drivers from Americas racing for the same team (Villeneuve and Zonta) but one of them was Canadian.
To find two Latin American drivers racing alongside each other in one for the entire F1 season we need to go back to 1995. A new team entered the F1 circus – Parmalat Forti Ford – with two Brazilians on board – Pedro Diniz and Roberto Moreno.
Roberto Moreno also raced as a team mate of Nelson Piquet for Benetton at the end of 1990 season and in 1991 before replaced by Michael Schumacher in the second half of the season.
In 1984 a Venezuelan driver had a Brazilian team mate, Johnny Cecotto raced alongside Ayrton Senna in Toleman (10 races). That same Cecotto had a Colombian team mate Roberto Guerrero in Theodore racing a year earlier.
Since the late 1979 season Brabham raced with Argentine Ricardo Zunino and Brazilian Nelson Piquet. Zunino was replaced during 1980 season by Mexican Hector Rebaque. The team continued with the same drivers also in 1981.
And that is as far as this post goes in the history .