We send our happy birthday wishes to Enrique Bernoldi (32 today) and Heikki Kovalainen (29 today)!
One hopes Heikki’s birthday present might come in the form of a public confirmation from Lotus that he has been re-signed for 2011!
Born into a well-to-do Brazilian family, Enrique Bernoldi was inspired by the motor racing exploits of Ayrton Senna and started karting at the age of nine, winning a host of national titles before heading to Europe at the age of seventeen.
Starting off in Formula Alfa, he moved to Formula Renault, utterly dominating the 1996 season to take the title. He joined the British F3 championship, peaking with the runner-up spot in his second season.
Backing from Red Bull saw him join the so-named squad in Formula 3000 the following year, which also came with a couple of test outings for Sauber.
But Peter Sauber wasn’t interested in Bernoldi’s services – despite Red Bull’s insistence – and signed one Kimi Räikkönen for the 2001 season, leaving Bernoldi on the sidelines for another season until he could stump up the cash for an Arrows drive in 2001.
Partnered alongside Jos Verstappen, he acquitted himself well as an F1 rookie, and famously held up David Coulthard for almost 40 laps at the Monaco Grand Prix. He was less impressive the following season alongside Heinz-Harald Frentzen, and was not in demand when Arrows folded mid-season. He returned to F1 a few years later as BAR’s test driver, largely at the behest of title sponsor BAT, who wanted a Latin-American driver on its books.
After F1, Enrique has contested series such as Nissan World Series, ChampCar, the IRL and the SuperLeague Formula. He currently races in the FIA GT1 World Championship for Team Vitaphone Maserati.