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Crashing with an F1 driver

12 months ago

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Writer:

Steve Sutcliffe | Journalist

Date:

16 March 2023

It was late in the afternoon at Circuit de Catalunya, and the light was already beginning to fade. To be fair to the Jaguar contingent, things had not gone according to plan that day, and none of it was of their own making.

Our flight out from Heathrow had landed late, the traffic was unusually dense getting from the airport to the track (even for Barcelona) and the weather forecast was suggesting snow might fall overnight; it was early December in 2002, the last day of pre-season testing for the forthcoming 2003 F1 season. So by the time we finally arrived at the track, the folks from Jaguar were already in a bit of a fluster.

Except for Antonio Reginaldo Pizzonia Jr, who seemed like the most chilled-out young racing driver you could ever wish to meet under such circumstances. He put me at ease right from the word go, in a way that only Brazilian racing drivers seem able to do. They just have this calm but cheeky confidence about them – a sense of balance about the stuff that matters, and that which does not – and in a situation that involved lots of PRs running around, not getting their own way about stuff that didn’t really matter at all, it was comforting to know that Antonio had his head screwed on right.

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