Short-lived Formula 1 driver at Sauber at the end of the 90s, Norberto Fontana got his hands on a helmet that had been stolen from him over twenty years ago! The Argentinian, now 46, shared the good news on his social networks and told this unusual story.
In 1997, Norberto Fontana competed in four Grands Prix with the Sauber team when he replaced Gianni Morbidelli, hurt. The following winter, he traveled to London hoping to negotiate a place in Formula 1 for the 1998 season, for which he coveted a place with Tyrrell. Discussions were ultimately unsuccessful and, during this trip, his birthplace in Arrecifes, Argentina, was robbed.
Among the items stolen from this residence, located 180 km from Buenos Aires, was an Arai helmet that Norberto Fontana had used in 1996 during a test session with Sauber on the Mugello and Estoril circuits. He was then a tester and reservist for the Swiss team.
Twenty-three years later, this helmet reappeared. It was Argentinian rider Christian Bodrato Mionetto who, last Friday, spotted a person on a motorcycle in front of a bank in Tortuguitas, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. This person wore a helmet with design elements similar to that of Norberto Fontana. Taken aback, he contacted the former F1 driver to show him a photo, in front of which there was not the slightest doubt. Christian Bodrato Mionetto then managed to talk to the person on the motorcycle and convinced him to buy the helmet from him and then return it to its owner.
“I knew that one day or another, I could find this helmet because when people see these colors, they know it’s mine.”, says Norberto Fontana, who posted a video in possession of the famous helmet. This one is in very good condition despite all these years and only the radio communication system is missing.
After his experience in 1997, Norberto Fontana has never raced in F1 again, where his best result remains ninth place at Silverstone and Hockenheim with Sauber. The Tyrrell seat escaped him in 1998, finding a taker with the Brazilian pilot Ricardo Rosset. Norberto Fontana continued his career in CART in the 2000s and then returned to Argentina, where he won titles in TC2000 and then in Turismo Carretera, where he still races today.
With Federico Faturos