Yesterday, Franco Colapinto was introduced as the latest member of the Williams Racing Driver Academy.
Alongside his on-track commitments of racing for MP Motorsport in Formula 3 this season, he’ll be immersed with our team both trackside and at the factory in Grove.
His duties will see him work with various departments across Williams both on and off the track while conducting simulator work to provide useful feedback for car development.
But, who is Franco Colapinto? Join us as we introduce our newest recruit.
Franco’s motorsport roots
Born in Buenos Aires on 27 May 2003, Franco’s motorsport journey began in karts just under a decade later at the age of nine.
He enjoyed great success in regional karts and by the age of 14, he was ready to pursue his dream, leaving home to join the American and European karting circuits.
Notable achievements in karts include winning the Argentinian Championship on two occasions, alongside finishing as runner-up in the OKJ category of the South Garda Winter Cup.
After having his 2017 season end prematurely due to a rib injury, Franco refused to let this setback defeat him, returning to claim victory in the karting event at the Summer Youth Olympics in October 2018.
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From karts to single-seaters
He’d make his single-seater debut the following month, competing in the Spanish F4 Championship for the final four races of the season.
Franco hit the ground running, finishing second in just his third race before winning the season finale.
This helped secure him a full-time drive in the series for 2019 and it would be a hugely successful campaign. Franco celebrated 11 wins, 13 podiums and 14 pole positions, crowning him champion.
Having also raced a handful of times in Euroformula Open and Formula Renault Eurocup during 2019, it would be the latter where he found a full-time home in the second half of 2020.
Franco had started the year in New Zealand, securing the rookie championship win in the Toyota Racing Series, notching another race win and a pole position alongside eight podium finishes.
Heading back to Europe as lockdown restrictions started to ease, he returned to Formula Renault Eurocup with MP Motorsport. With two race wins and seven podiums, he finished third in the championship as the highest-ranked rookie.
Getting a taste for sports cars
The young Argentinian’s 2021 season kickstarted by making his LMP2 debut in the Asian Le Mans Series with reigning.
The teenager’s sports car journey soon flourished by taking a trio of pole positions, a trio of podiums and a trio of fastest laps within four races, before finishing the season by claiming another “Rookie of the Year” crown.
He would get a further taste for sports cars in European Le Mans, where he celebrated one pole and one win, alongside guest appearances in other closed-cockpit series.
Now for a quick question – what were you doing at 18? Well, Franco was competing at the revered 24 Hours of Le Mans, the youngest racer on the 186-strong grid, with his G-Drive team finishing seventh in class.
It wasn’t all sports cars for Franco in 2021 as he also competed for MP Motorsport in the Formula Regional European Championship, which added further wins, podiums and fastest laps to his tally.
WATCH: Q&A with Franco Colapinto
Joining the F1 weekend
2022 saw Franco step up to the ultra-competitive Formula 3 Championship and the Argentinian enjoyed a stellar rookie season with Van Amersfoort Racing.
He made his mark by claiming pole position in his first F3 Qualifying session at the opener in Bahrain, before securing a maiden victory at the next round in Imola during the Sprint Race.
Franco’s strong run of results also saw him on the podium in Austria, Hungary, Netherlands and he wrapped up the season with a win in the Monza Sprint Race.
Overall, he scored two wins and five podiums to achieve 76 points and finish 9th in the driver standings.
Just one look at Franco’s Twitter profile during the recent FIFA World Cup will show you how proud he is of his home nation and getting to represent Argentina on the world stage means a lot to the 19 year old.
His helmet design flies the Bandera Argentina de Ceremonia on either side and as he joins our Driver Academy, Franco was quick to share his enjoyment for joining a team where a great from his homeland had plenty of success.
“I am looking forward to following in the footsteps of my fellow countryman Carlos Reutemann,” France shared, adding: “It’s an incredible opportunity for which I am forever grateful.”
Of course, Argentina has a great history in motorsport, and in a 2022 interview with Formula 3, Franco shared that his biggest racing influence is five-time World Champion, Juan Manuel Fangio.
“Even though he raced a long, long time ago in Formula 1, he won five world titles. He’s one of the references in Argentina, he started our history in racing and made motorsport a lot stronger in the country.
“He’s one of the guys I look at as a reference, trying to learn the history and he’s one of my influences.
“He’s still loved here, one of the only drivers from here to get to Formula 1, that was already a big task and then to win so many times, he’s one of the biggest guys for up-and-coming drivers in South America.”