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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Ex-F1 racer Fontana recovers helmet stolen 23 years in the past

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Fontana, who took half in 4 F1 grands prix in 1997 with the Sauber squad, acquired the helmet over the weekend after a fellow racer occurred to identify it being worn by a bike rider on the street. 

The helmet was stolen from Fontana’s household dwelling in his hometown of Arrecifes, positioned 180km away from Buenos Aires Metropolis. Thieves broke into the home and stole a few of Fontana’s belongings through the 1998 European winter, whereas he was in England negotiating to race for Tyrrell within the upcoming F1 season. 

Among the many gadgets taken by the robbers was an Arai helmet that Fontana had worn driving for Sauber at Mugello and Estoril throughout 1996, whereas serving as check driver for the Hinwil-based crew. 

Virtually 24 years on, final Friday a fellow Argentine racing driver, Christian Bodrato Mionetto, noticed a girl seated on a motorcycle in entrance of a financial institution in Tortuguitas, within the outskirts of Buenos Aires, carrying a helmet with Fontana’s attribute design – and carrying his identify. This aroused his suspicions, so he contacted Fontana after taking a photograph.

When he noticed the image, Fontana instantly knew it was the helmet that was stolen in 1998. Bodrato Mionetto then approached the one that was carrying the helmet and, after paying a sum of cash – the lady insisted that she was not related to the helmet’s theft – recovered it to be able to give it again to its true proprietor.

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“I knew some day I’d be capable of discover that helmet as a result of when individuals see these colors, they know that they’re mine,” mentioned Fontana on his Instagram account.


Regardless of having been robbed nearly 24 years in the past, the helmet was in superb situation and solely the radio communication system was lacking.

Fontana raced 4 occasions for Sauber in 1997, initially as a alternative for the injured Gianni Morbidelli – who’d damaged his arm in testing at Magny-Cours – with two ninth-place finishes at Silverstone and Hockenheim his finest outcomes.

The Tyrrell seat for 1998 was lastly taken by Brazilian Ricardo Rosset and, when it was clear he wouldn’t be capable of have a spot within the F1 grid, Fontana raced in Components Nippon and FIA Components 3000, whereas he additionally had a short time within the CART Sequence in 2000 earlier than he moved again to Argentina. 

He went on to win championships in TC2000 (2002 and 2010) and Turismo Carretera (2006), the place he nonetheless races on the age of 46.

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