Patrick Friesacher

Former Grand Prix driver Patrick Friesacher is turning 31 today!

The Austrian contested a half-season with the Minardi team in 2005, before he vacated his seat when his backing ran dry.

Born in the Austrian town of Wolfsberg, Patrick started out racing in motorcross before switching to karts at the age of 11, where he enjoyed great success until an accident in 1997 left him with serious leg injuries.

After three months’ recovery, he returned to racing in the Renault Campus series, finishing third overall. He graduated to the French F3 championship, and then moved to the German F3 championship, before joining Formula 3000 in 2001 with the new Red Bull Junior team.

He had a long apprenticeship in the championship, which included stints with Super Nova and Coloni, but eventually he claimed a fine win at the Hungaroring in 2003, repeating the feat in 2004 en route to finishing fourth overall.

A rare moment leading team-mate Albers A late sign-up to the Minardi team for the 2005 F1 season, Friesacher was generally outperformed by team-mate Christijan Albers in the unwieldy and little-developed PS05.

His sole points’ finish came at the farcical United States Grand Prix, where he finished sixth and last of the six Bridgestone-shod runners to start the race. His funds then dried up and he lost his drive to Robert Doornbos.

Patrick briefly moved to the A1GP series in 2006, picking up points for his home nation before its entry bit the dust at the end of the season. He also contested in the ALMS championship in a Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 in 2008, and it was while testing the A1GP prototype chassis at Magny Cours that he suffered a suspension failure, with the accident crushing three vertebrae.

[Images via F1-Facts and Sutton Images]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.