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GALLERY: Every F1 car Fisichella raced in Australia

LESS than two weeks remain until Formula 1 race winner Giancarlo Fisichella makes his long-awaited Adelaide debut.

The 2005 Australian Grand Prix victor will headline the S5000 Tasman Series grid, representing Team BRM.

MORE: Lowndes locked in for Adelaide F1 drive

As the countdown draws nearer, V8 Sleuth takes a look back at the Italian’s career which included 14 grands prix Down Under, all at Albert Park.

1996

The Ford-powered Minardi M195B. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

It was a circumspect start to Fisichella’s top-flight career, completing a partial campaign with minnows Minardi, which failed to score a point all season.

His debut came in Melbourne, where he and teammate Pedro Lamy both retired after mid-race distance.

1997

The Jordan 197, which ran a Peugeot V10 engine. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

He was picked up by Jordan, with Ralf Schumacher completing an all-new driver line-up.

Again, neither Fisichella nor his teammate would see the chequered flag in Australia but there was plenty of good to come for the then 24-year-old, including podiums at Montreal and Spa.

1998

The Benetton B198. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

Having outscored Schumacher, Fisichella was swooped on by Benetton, for whom he’d deliver second-place finishes at Monaco and Montreal, as well as pole at Austria.

His Albert Park fortunes didn’t improve however, again winding up with a DNF.

1999

The Benetton B199. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

For the first time, Fisichella entered a season with continuity (having stayed with Benetton) – and with that brought a good start at last, finishing fourth in Melbourne.

Four top fives in the opening six rounds, including yet another Canadian podium, preceded a tough second half of the year.

2000

The Benetton B200. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Fisichella and Alexander Wurz continued for a third season together at Benetton, and again the former enjoyed an excellent first half.

Three podiums (and a fifth place at Albert Park) helped him to a career-best sixth in the championship. And yes, Montreal was the site of some more silverware.

2001

The Benetton B201. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Now joined by future world champion Jenson Button, a painful Australian Grand Prix (Fisichella and Button were classified 13th and 14th) was a sign of a dire season ahead for Benetton.

Fisichella did at least keep his podium streak alive, courtesy of a standout third at Spa.

2002

The Jordan EJ12. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Having left Benetton (now Renault) to rejoin Jordan, Fisichella was one of eight drivers taken out at the opening corner of the season in Melbourne.

For the first time since his rookie campaign, he did not trouble the podium all year, although he did account for seven of the team’s nine points.

2003

The Jordan EJ13 Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

It was another mostly trying season for Jordan, starting with Fisichella’s late gearbox gremlins at Albert Park.

The outlier was a shock, controversial win at a crash-marred Brazilian Grand Prix.

2004

Sauber’s C23. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Fisichella’s move to Sauber brought a middling season, with nine points finishes but no podiums.

He finished 10th in the Melbourne season-opener.

2005

Fisichella leads aboard his Renault R25. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Finally finding himself in the right place at the right time – following a shift (back) to Renault to be Fernando Alonso’s new teammate – Fisichella started in style winning from pole position in Australia.

He’d later savour a podium finish on home soil at Monza as he and new superstar Alonso combined to secure Renault the constructors’ championship.

2006

The Renault R26. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Fisichella entered the AGP off the back of victory from pole in Malaysia (Albert Park having been moved to a later slot due to the Commonwealth Games) and qualified on the front row.

He’d have to settle for fifth though. A consistent campaign netted him fourth in the drivers’ and helped Renault to another constructors’ championship as Alonso went back-to-back.

2007

The Renault R27. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

With Alonso moving to McLaren, the spotlight intensified on Fisichella.

He started well with fifth in Melbourne but was ultimately outscored by rookie teammate Heikki Kovalainen as Renault drifted back to the pack.

2008

Fisichella’s Force India VJM01 involved in an opening lap incident. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Having switched to newly rebranded Force India, Fisichella was for the second time tangled up in a first lap collision at the Australian season-opener.

Neither he nor teammate Adrian Sutil recorded a points finish all year.

2009

The Force India VJM02. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Fisichella and Sutil fell just short of the points in Australia – perhaps a sign that more was within reach for year two of the program.

Indeed, the Italian veteran stunned the F1 world by putting Force India on pole at Spa, and converting that into second place – a spectacular way for the team to register its maiden points.

His reward would be a mid-season switch to Ferrari to substitute for the injured Felipe Massa, after which Fisichella settled into a reserve role for the Scuderia and never raced again in F1.

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