One To Watch
Teenager Javier Villa is already in his second season of GP2 and has three wins to his name. With F1 reaching unprecedented popularity in Spain thanks to Fernando Alonso, could Villa soon be the second Spaniard in an F1 race seat?
Villa was born on October 5th, 1987 in Colunga, Spain. He entered the Asturian Cadet Karting Championship in 1996, aged ten. By 1998 he had become champion, and the following year was runner-up in the Castilla-Leon cadet karting winter series.
The young driver returned to the same winter series in 2000 and became champion. That year he also finished second in the Asturian Junior Karting Trophy and the Open Toyota cadet karting series. In the Spanish Karting Championship he was fifth in the cadet class.
Two more years in karting saw him claim another title – he was Asturian Karting Junior Championship in 2001 – then in 2002 he finished fifth in the Open Toyota Karting Junior series.
The following year he made the transition into racing cars with the Repsol Racing for Spain team in the Spanish Formula Junior Championship. After that he moved up to Spanish Formula Three in 2004. He won the Junior Cup and was ninth overall with a best finish of fourth at the penultimate round at the Circuit de Catalunya.
He remained in the category for 2005 but switched to the Racing Engineering team, which took him to fourth in the championship with two wins, 23 points behind champion Andy Soucek.
Racing Engineering then moved Villa, now aged 18, up to its GP2 team for 2006. He didn’t score a point all season, although he made four more Spanish F3 starts and finished second in three of them.
The team retained him for 2007 and after 13 races he is fifth in the championship. He has won three times, but all three victories have come in the shorter sprint races.
Villa’s talent in leading from the front is clear – but whether he can improve his qualifying and mount a consistent championship campaign remains to be seen. But remember in the ‘old GP2′ – F3000 – even Alonso only won once…
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Photo: Andrew Ferrari / GP2 Media Service
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