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Ricardo Zunino was an Argentine racing driver that competed in Formula One between 1979 and 1981 for the Brabham and Tyrrell teams.

Before Formula One[]

Ricardo Zunino was born into a wealthy farming family located in San Juan, near the Argentine-Chile border. In 1970 at the age of 21, Zunino began his motor racing career. Zunino only raced domestically within his Argentine home. Between in 1970 and 1976, Zunino competed in the Argentine Touring Car Championship. In 1976, Zunino went on to win the Argentine Touring Car Championship for the first time at age 27. 

Zunino's success in touring cars prompted the Automobile Club of Argentina to sponsor him in a move to European racing for 1977. For 1977, Zunino joined the Formula Two series racing for the Euroracing team. Zunino failed to make much impact and suffered generally poor results throughout the season. However at the Pau Grand Prix, Zunino was invited to race as the third driver for the March team. In the wet conditions Zunino was able to bring the car home in sixth position, taking his first and only points of the season. 

Zunino's performances in the wet at Pau was enough for March to offer him a full-time drive in the team for 1978. Zunino was moderately successful in the season, scoring in five of the twelve championship rounds. However he was consistently the slowest of the four works cars, his teammates consisted of fellow Formula One drivers Bruno Giacomelli, Marc Surer and Manfred Winkelhock. Giacomelli would dominate the championship with Surer in second position. 

In 1979, Zunino competed in the first four rounds of the Formula Two championship for March before making the move to the British Formula One championship.

Formula One Career[]

1979: British Formula One []

In 1979, Zunino hoped to bring his sponsorship money to the small-time privateer team BS Fabrications to compete in the 1979 Formula One Season. BS Fabrications had competed in the past three seasons and despite Zunino and the team taking part in pre-season testing, the team ultimately quit racing in the Formula One World Championship. Zunino however remained with the team in 1979 as they entered the British Formula One Championship. Zunino competed in a Brabham BT49 from the fifth round of the championship onwards.

Despite missing the first part of the season, Zunino established himself well in the series. Out of the nine races he competed in the season, Zunino finished second three times and took a single victory at Brands Hatch

1979-1980: Brabham[]

1979[]

During practice for the  1979 Canadian Grand Prix, former World Champion Niki Lauda announced his retirement from Formula One with immediate effect, leaving the Brabham team without a second driver for the event. Zunino had by lucky chance booked seats as a spectator for the exact same race. Lauda's shock announcement had left Brabham without any time to fill their second seat for the Grand Prix. Brabham team principal Bernie Ecclestone made a plea to the spectators asking if anyone capable of driving a Formula One car would be willing to take Lauda's seat.

Zunino found himself in luck, the Argentine approached the team and having raced the team's car in British Formula One with success seemed like the most logical choice for the team. Zunino drove for the team for the very first time during the qualifying session and although he was some way off teammate Nelson Piquet who qualified fourth, Zunino was able to manage to qualify nineteenth out of the twenty four runners. During the race Zunino was well off the pace, he finished the race in seventh place albeit four laps down on the leader.

Brabham opted to keep Zunino for the final round of the championship at Watkins Glen. Zunino whilst still off the pace of teammate Piquet who had qualified second, improved his own performance to qualify in ninth position. Zunino drove a lackluster race before spinning into the catch fencing just under half distance. 

1980[]

Zunino had not exactly shined in his two performances at the end of 1979, yet surprisingly Brabham signed Zunino for a second season. Zunino who had found his race seat by mere chance was more than happy to race as the clear number two to Brabham's other driver, the young fast charging Nelson Piquet. 

The first race of the season took place on Zunino's home turf in Argentina. Despite this, Zunino failed to make an impression qualifying in sixteenth in comparison to Piquet's third. Zunino would finish the race, albeit seventh and last of the surviving runners as well as finishing two laps down on the leader. Piquet, meanwhile started the season off with a podium finish.

Formula One Statistical Overview[]

Formula One Record[]

Year Entrant Team WDC Points WDC Pos.
1979 United Kingdom Parmalat Racing Team Brabham-Ford Cosworth 0 NC
1980 United Kingdom Parmalat Racing Team Brabham-Ford Cosworth 0 NC
1981 United Kingdom Tyrrell Racing Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 0 NC

Career Statistics[]

Entries 11
Starts 10
Pole Positions 0
Front Row Starts 0
Race Wins 0
Podiums 0
Fastest Laps 0
Points 0
Laps Raced 373
Distance Raced 1976 km (1228 mi)

Career Results[]

Complete Formula One Results
Year 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Pts Pos
1979 Flag of Argentina.svg Flag of Brazil (1968–1992).svg Flag of South Africa 1928-1994.svg Flag of the United States.svg Flag of Spain 1977 1981.svg Flag of Belgium.svg Flag of Monaco.svg Flag of Sweden.svg Flag of France.svg Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Flag of Germany.svg Flag of Austria.svg Flag of the Netherlands.svg Flag of Italy.svg Flag of Canada.svg Flag of the United States.svg 0 NC
C 7th Ret
1980 Flag of Argentina.svg Flag of Brazil (1968–1992).svg Flag of South Africa 1928-1994.svg Flag of the United States.svg Flag of Belgium.svg Flag of Monaco.svg Flag of France.svg Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Flag of Germany.svg Flag of Austria.svg Flag of the Netherlands.svg Flag of Italy.svg Flag of Canada.svg Flag of the United States.svg 0 NC
7th 8th 10th Ret Ret DNQ Ret
1981 Flag of the United States.svg Flag of Brazil (1968–1992).svg Flag of Argentina.svg Flag of San Marino.svg Flag of Belgium.svg Flag of Monaco.svg Flag of Spain.png Flag of France.svg Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Flag of Germany.svg Flag of Austria.svg Flag of the Netherlands.svg Flag of Italy.svg Flag of Canada.svg Flag of the United States.svg 0 NC
13th 13th
Key
Symbol Meaning Symbol Meaning
1st Winner Ret Retired
2nd Podium finish DSQ Disqualified
3rd DNQ Did not qualify
5th Points finish DNPQ Did not pre-qualify
14th Non-points finish TD Test driver
Italics Scored point(s) for Fastest Lap DNS Did not start
18th Classified finish (retired with >90% race distance) NC Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)
4thP Qualified for pole position [+] More Symbols

Notes[]


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