Ianina in 2003
Ianina Zanazzi is an Argentine driver who has raced single-seaters in Europe and South America. In the early 2000s, she was recognised as a promising young driver, and occasionally tipped as the next woman in Formula One.
Compared to some, she got her start in motorsport quite late, at fourteen. She competed in karts for a year, then made her senior debut in 1997, in the all-female Formula Hyundai Femenina touring car series, which she combined with her school studies. She was not overly keen on the all-woman set-up, criticising the driving of some of her rivals, and moved on after one season.
In 1998, she moved into single-seater racing in Argentina. She ran in Formula Renault in Argentina, as well as some Formula Honda races. In June, she became the first woman to win a Formula Renault race in Argentina, at Rio Cuarto. As she did not complete the season, she was only 29th in the championship, but her skill was now being noted.
She contested Formula Super Renault in 1999, and won the National class outright.
Having worked her way up the Argentine junior formulae, she graduated to SudAm Formula 3 in 2000, in the Light class. She was competitive straight away, scoring two class wins and ten podiums from 18 races. Her final position was second in the Light class. This was in spite of some off-track trouble, when her team-mate was accused of sabotaging her car. Ianina crashed during a testing session, skidding on a patch of oil that had not been there on her previous lap. She was running late at the track, having had problems earlier in the day, and was the only driver there. A hole in the trackside fence nearby was found, and foul play was suspected. Nothing was ever proved.
Despite the negative media attention, a test in Toyota Atlantics for the Hylton team followed, with a view to progressing towards CART, but this did not lead to a competition drive.
In 2001, she tried to put this disappointment behind her, and concentrate on her on-track successes. She took another step up, into the top-level SudAm F3 championship. Driving for two different teams, she had a best finish of fifth, and was thirteenth overall, after seven races. Early in the season, she made her first forays into European motorsport, making a guest appearance in the Italian Formula Renault championship. She was fifteenth at Estoril, driving for the BVM Minardi Junior team.
She moved to Spain for Spanish Formula 3 in 2002, but only completed half of the season, driving for GTA Motor Competition. She was 21st in the championship, with a best finish of tenth, at Estoril. One of her rivals was Maria de Villota.
At home, she made a couple of guest appearances in TC Pista Argentina, a touring car series. She raced a Ford Falcon.
It was back home to Argentina in 2003, for the Formula Renault championship. She was driving for the Crespi team, and was not among the front-runners. She did not complete the season, and was 21st overall. She also repeated her 2002 TC Pista guest spots, in the same car.
Briefly, she reappeared in 2004, contesting Class Two of Argentine Touring Cars in a VW Golf. She completed seven races and scored nine points. After that, she disappeared from the competition scene.
After that, she worked as a performance driving instructor. In 2009, her profile was raised again by her support of the young Argentine driver, Violeta Pernice, in the Top Race Junior series.
By 2012, she was described as a “former racing driver” in interviews. Her current activities are unclear.
(Image from http://sportswoman.info)