Former Grand Prix drivers Dieter Quester (70), Andrea Montermini (47) and Gianmaria Bruni (30) are celebrating their respective birthdays today!
After many years competing in speedboats and motorcycle racing, Austrian-born Dieter Quester came to the attention of BMW in 1965, with whom he was to be associated for almost the entirety of his motorsport career.
Success in touring cars propelled him into Formula 2 in 1969, before he moved to the March F2 team in 1971. He contemplated retirement after being continually overlooked for a jump into Formula 1, and he finally got his chance when he piloted a rented Surtees on home soil in 1974.
He moved to sports car racing, winning the European G2 title in 1977 before switching to the BMW Procar championship. He remained a regular in the touring car scene – always with BMW – well into the 1990s.
Andrea Montermini holds the distinction of holding what F1 Rejects calls the “mid-nineties reject triumvirate”: that is, to have driven for three teams that all folded within the space of 18 months.
The Italian-born racer competed in 29 Grands Prix between 1994-6, making his debut at the Spanish Grand Prix with Simtek as the replacement for the fatally-injured Roland Ratzenberger. Sadly, fate was to deal another cruel blow to the little Simtek team, as Andrea crashed heavily at the final corner of the Curcuit de Catalunya, breaking his left heel and right foot, and ruling him out of action for the rest of the year.
He returned in 1995 with the Pacific team, and drove for the Forti team in 1996 until it collapsed mid-season.
Andrea has also been an occasional Champ Car racer in 1993-4 and 1999. He picked up a remarkable 4th place at the Detroit round in his first season for the poorly-funded Euromotorsport Team.
Since the 2000s, Andrea has been a fixture in GT racing, and won the 2007 International GT Open’s GTA Class championship in a Ferrari F430.
Click here for Andrea Montermini’s complete F1 results.
Rome-born Bruni entered motorsport at the age of ten, lying about his age to the director of the La Pista d’Oro kart circuit (12 was the minimum competition age). He graduated to open-wheeler competition in 1997, and won the Italian Formula Renault Campus championship the following year. He would go on to win the European Formula Renault championship in 1999 and competed for two seasons in British F3.
It was while competing in the European F3000 championship that he caught the attention of Gian Carlo Minardi, and he was signed up to test for the team in the latter half of the 2003 season.
Having secured enough sponsorship to pick up a drive with the team in 2004, he struggled to compete in a woefully underdeveloped Minardi car and never challenged for points. Indeed, his best result was a trio of 14th place finishes.
By season’s end, he’d had enough of treading water and a major falling out with team boss Paul Stoddart at the final race was all but enough to ensure he wouldn’t grace the F1 grid in 2005.
So Gimmi dropped back to GP2 and joined the Coloni team, winning his first race at Barcelona. He switched mid-season to the Durango outfit, and started his next race at Spa-Francorchamps from pole position.
He switched to the Trident team for the 2006 season, winning the feature races in San Marino and Germany.
From 2007 onwards, Gimmi has been a fixture in the FIA GT and ALMS championships.
Click here for Gianmaria Bruni’s complete F1 results.
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