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DOB: July 20, 1962
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

Giovanna Amati (Italian pronunciation: [d?o'vanna ?.m?.ti]) (born 20 July 1962 in Rome) is a former professional race car driver from Italy. She is best known as the last female driver to have entered the Formula One World Championship.

Brought up in a wealthy background, Amati was kidnapped in 1978 before being released on a 800 million lira ransom. She started her racing career in Formula Abarth series before moving up into Formula Three for 1985-86. An entry into F3000 in 1987 brought little success but the following year, Amati improved her performances. She moved to Japan for 1989 and had no success. A move back to Europe in 1990 saw better performances that continued into 1991. In 1992, Amati became the fifth woman Formula One driver when she signed for the Brabham team.
Amati was born on July 20, 1962 to actress Anna Maria Pancani and industralist film owner Giovanni Amati who were both wealthy. Amati had a colourful childhood. She had brought a Honda motorcycle when she was 15, managing to hide it from her parents for two years. She had been kidnapped for ransom on 12 February 1978 by three gangsters in a group led by Jean Daniel Nieto who had allegedly raped her and then romanced. Amati had been taken out of a car she was sitting in near her parent's villa and was taken away in a van. Her captors took her into a house located near to her parent's home but was moved when police came searching for Amati. She was kept in a wooden cage for 75 days and was physically and mentally abused but Nieto comforted her. Amati was released on a 800 million lira ($933,000 in 1978) ransom on April 27 using box office receipts for the film Star Wars and her mother sold some of her jewelery and managed to get into her life savings to pay the ransom. Magistrates ordered that all of the assets belonging to the Amati family would be frozen to prevent payment. Nieto, a French citizen, was later arrested after a meeting with the former kidnapped. When he was released, newspapers published stories detailing the strong emotional relationship between Nieto and Amati. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Nieto escaped prison in 1989 and remained a fugitive until he was arrested in April 2010.

To increase her skills in order to prepare her for Motor Racing, Amati attended a motor racing school with her friend, Elio de Angelis. She began racing professionally in the Formula Abarth series in 1981, winning several times over the next four years before moving up to Italian Formula Three in 1985-86, again scoring a few wins. By 1987 she had moved up to Formula 3000 racing three times, but only qualified for the race at Donington. Amati competed in F3000 for 1988 with Lola and managed to secure two 10th places at Monza and Jerez. At Jerez, she finished behind future Formula One drivers Jean-Denis Deletraz, Jean Alesi and Marco Apicella. Amati moved to the Japanese F3000 for 1989 but she had no success. In 1990, Amati returned to Europe to the International F3000. Within the first four rounds, she raced with Roni Motorsports in a Reynard 90D Cosworth before moving to Lola for round five. Her final team change was to Cobra Motorsports for the last five rounds.

In 1991, Amati joined GJ Motorsports driving a Reynard 91D Cosworth for the entire season. She qualified for six rounds and managed to finish a few times. By the end of the year, Amati tested for Benetton driving for 30 laps.

Formula One

Amati signed with the dying Brabham team in January 1992 to partner Eric van de Poele after the team was unable to sign Japanese F3000 driver Akihiko Nakaya because he was not granted a superlicence due to the FIA not recognising the Japanese F3000 series as a stepping stone in Motor Racing. The announcement of a female driver gained publicity for the Brabham team. Before the first round in South Africa, Amati had little experience in driving Formula One machinery as mechanics were still working on her car.

At South Africa, Amati's inexperienced showed on the track after spinning six times during practice. During Qualifying, she was unable to qualify after setting a time that was nine seconds slower than pole sitter Nigel Mansell and four seconds slower than team-mate van Poele.

At Mexico, Amati had failed to qualify for the second consective race having setting a time more than 10 seconds slower than Mansell.

At Brazil, Amati once again failed to qualify for the race having a time 11 seconds slower than Mansell in Friday qualifying. Saturday qualifying saw a slight improvement but Amati still did not qualify. Soon after the race, Amati was sacked by Brabham and was replaced by Damon Hill.

Post Formula One Career

Amati went into the Porsche SuperCup for 1993 to win the Women's European Championship. From 1994 to 1996, she raced in the Ferrari Challenge and was consistent in the series. She left the series for a sabbasctial for 1997 before returning in 1998. Once again racing in the Ferrari Challenge with a Ferrari 355 and also raced in the International Sports Racing Series driving a Alfa Romeo Giudici Gaiero SPN. Amati raced in the Sebring 12 Hours in a BMW M3, driving alongside Craig Carter and Andy Petery but retired due to clutch trouble. She also raced the 1000km of Monza racing alongside Loic Depailler and Xavier Pompidou but were unable to start but came 11th at Le Mans during a 2 hour race alongside Guido Knyca and Giovani Gulinelli. In 1999, Amati raced in the SportsRacing World Cup driving a Tampolli RS2-RTA99 for the Cauduro Tampolli team alongside Angelo Lancelotti in the SR2 class. She was placed third overall in the SR2 class championship in 1999. Amati has also moved into media, writing columns in Italy for motorsport publications and providing television commentary.

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