Date of birth: April 17 1989
Born: Rothrist, Switzerland
Place of residence: Rothrist, Switzerland
Jobs: Racing, reserve and development driver
Team: Manor Marussia F1 Team
Fabio Leimer is a Swiss racing driver who has achieved success in some of the top international motor racing championships. His career highlight to date was winning the GP2 title in 2013. The GP2 Series is one level below Formula One and tops the F1 support bill during selected weekends. It’s therefore an ideal place for young drivers to showcase their talent. Fabio did just that by winning three races and finishing on the podium seven times on his way to the title.
That hard work and success has paid off. His talent has been recognised and he’s now the test and development driver for the Manor Marussia F1 Team, with Fabio driving the Marussia MR03B Formula One car in Friday practice during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend in July.
“It’s just amazing to be in Formula One,” he says. “It’s the top motorsport championship and now I’m finally in as a third driver. It feels amazing, but now I’m hungry for more because I want to be a main driver. So I am really pushing forward and doing my best.”
Fabio is now working towards securing a race seat in F1. “It was very positive for me to be in the F1 car for the first time in Budapest,” he says. “I started to learn the car. As well as that there is the financial side and we’re working really hard on this to achieve my goal.”
Fabio has also raced in the all-electric FIA Formula E series with Virgin Racing. He competed in the final round of the 2014-15 season in London, United Kingdom.
How does F1 differ from other categories?
“As you move up the categories you have more and more downforce from the car. You have to learn how to drive the car and get quicker and quicker. I have to say Formula One is the highest category but it’s not just about driving – it’s about the media stuff and during the race weekend it’s quite busy.”
What were your impressions of the F1 car when you drove it in practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix?
“It’s the first time I drove the new Formula One car so I don’t have some reference compared to the other cars. The car is really smooth to drive over the kerbs. The main thing is you have power-steering, which makes it really easy to turn in. On the straight it’s really quick and the acceleration is amazing.”
You were quick in the F1 practice session…
“I was surprised because it was a long time ago since I was in a really quick car, at the end of 2014. It’s quite positive and I’m already really close to my team-mate – at some point I was quicker and I can still improve from my side.”
What is the job of the third driver?
“When the first or second driver can’t do the race the third driver is there for that. But the third driver is also helping the team. Like in Budapest, when I had the chance to drive they wanted to know my feedback to see if it’s the same as the other guys. I am in all the meetings – I’m actually part of the family.”
Even though racing is banned in Switzerland, there’s still a long tradition of motorsport there.
“Especially the last 10 years there were really strong guys from Switzerland. I don’t know what the reason is but it’s really positive and I’m very happy about that.”
Coming from Switzerland, are you a fan of fondue or the famous Toblerone chocolate?
“I have to say yes. When I was a child I really hated fondue but now it’s really good. Although I prefer Raclette. Chocolate is really nice but I don’t eat so much.”
If you weren’t a racing driver, what would you be doing?
“It was always only motorsport so I was just going for this.”
2014 FIA World Endurance Championship, LMP1 category, Rebellion Racing
2015 FIA Formula E, Virgin Racing Formula E Team
2015 FIA Formula One reserve & development driver, Manor Marussia F1 Team
2014 FIA Formula E reserve driver, Amlin Aguri
2014 Pirelli F1 test with Lotus F1 Team
2013 GP2 Series – overall champion, 3 wins, Racing Engineering
2012 GP2 Series – 7th overall, 6 podium finishes, Racing Engineering
2011 Young Driver Test for Sauber F1 Team, 74 laps, 417km
2011 GP2 Final, Abu Dhabi – champion
2011 GP2 Series – 14th overall, 1 win, Rapax
2011 GP2 Asia Series – 5th overall, 1 podium finish, Rapax
2010 GP2 Series – first win, Ocean Racing Technology
2009-10 GP2 Asia Series, Ocean Racing Technology
2009 International Formula Masters Series – champion, Jenzer Motorsport
2008 International Formula Masters Series – 2nd overall, Jenzer Motorsport
2007 Formula Renault – Eurocup and Italian Championship, Jenzer Motorsport
2006 Formula BMW ADAC – 4th in rookie category
2006 European championship – Cat. ICA, 6th overall
2005 Swiss championship – Cat. ICA
2004 Swiss championship – Cat. ICA Junior – Swiss champion
2003 Swiss championship – Cat. ICA Junior – Swiss champion
2002 Swiss championship – Cat. ICA Junior – 2nd overall