|Born||22 May 1970|
São Paulo, Brazil
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Teams||Forti, Ligier, Arrows, Sauber|
|Entries||99 (98 starts)|
|First entry||1995 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|Last entry||2000 Malaysian Grand Prix|
Pedro Paulo Falleiros dos Santos Diniz (born 22 May 1970) is a Brazilian businessman and former racing driver.
Diniz began karting at the age of eighteen and achieved minor success, before progressing to car racing in the Brazilian Formula Ford Championship and the British Formula 3 Championship. He first drove in Formula One with Forti for the 1995 season. The following year he switched to Ligier and moved to Arrows for 1997. In 1998, he finished 14th in the Drivers' Championship, and subsequently moved to Sauber for 1999. He left Sauber after the 2000 season and bought a share in the Prost team, which folded a year later.
Since leaving motorsport, Diniz founded the Formula Renault 2.0 Brazil Championship which he ran from 2002 and 2006, later becoming a partner in Pão de Açúcar and operates an organic produce and dairy farm alongside his wife Tatiana Diniz. He is a Board Member of Food Tank, a non-profit organization that spotlights environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways of alleviating hunger, obesity, and poverty and works to create networks of people, organizations, and content to push for food system change.
Diniz was considered a pay driver during his career due to his family backing, but he scored ten points during his Formula One career while most pay drivers did not score any.
Early life and career
Diniz was born in São Paulo, Brazil on 22 May 1970. His father is Abílio dos Santos Diniz, a businessman who used to own the Brazilian distribution chain Companhia Brasileira de Distribuição and the supermarket chain Pão de Açúcar. Diniz struggled to find a good education and went to several schools around the local area.
Diniz began karting at the age of eighteen, and his career was funded by his father who supported his son's hobby. He competed in several events around Brazil and his first racing success came when he won the Two Hours of São Paulo. Aged 19, Diniz moved up into car racing, competing in the Brazilian Formula Ford championship, where he finished ninth in the Drivers' Championship. In 1990, Diniz moved to the Reyanud Alfa team and finished ninth overall, with his best performances being a podium position at Interlagos.
For 1991, Diniz moved to the British Formula 3 with the West Surrey Racing team, finishing 11th overall. He moved to the Edenbridge Racing team in 1992, driving a Reynard Mugen and took two podiums en route to eighth place overall.
Formula One career
Diniz entered Formula One, the highest category of circuit racing defined by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), motorsport's world governing body, with the Forti team, as team-mate to Roberto Moreno in 1995. In addition, this was the first of a three-year contract with Diniz and his backers. Despite his lack of success in F3000, he was guaranteed a seat as his family and sponsors were paying a significant amount of the team's budget. Furthermore, retired driver René Arnoux was employed as a consultant and driver coach for Diniz. The season started with Diniz scoring three consecutive finishes, albeit outside of the points scoring positions—but was not classified for the races in Argentina and San Marino. He did not finish the next race in Spain due to a gearbox problem and finished tenth in Monaco. Diniz retired from the next five races he entered, primarily from car issues and spun off into retirement at Magny-Cours. He subsequently finished every remaining race of the season, apart from the Grand Prix held at Suzuka where he spun off. He finished the season scoring no points and was unclassified in the Drivers' Championship. Diniz's good finishing record enabled him to establish himself as a steady, dependable driver. In December, Diniz signed for the Ligier team for 1996, despite team owner Tom Walkinshaw initially refusing to hold talks with the Brazilian driver. Ligier eventually signed Diniz after a shootout test session against other drivers in which Diniz was the fastest, also impressing the team with his approach and technical feedback. After leaving Forti, Diniz and his sponsors were described as "throwing their money away", and the Brazilian's reputation as a serious Formula One driver was damaged, as it took him several years to prove that he was not just in the sport because of his funding.
Diniz started the season by finishing outside of the points in the opening two races—tenth in Australia and eighth in Brazil. At the Argentine Grand Prix, his car burst into flames after a pit-stop due to its fuel valve sticking open; British newspaper The Sun famously printed the photo alongside the headline "Diniz in the Oven". After failing to finish at Monaco, a race which his teammate Panis won, Diniz scored his first career point with a sixth-place finish at Catalunya. Six straight retirements followed before he scored another sixth-place finish at Monza. Following his poor season with Forti in 1995 little was expected of him for 1996, so there was mild surprise when he managed to out-qualify the better rated Panis at Hockenheim and establish himself as a driver capable of scoring points. He finished the season 15th in the Drivers' Championship with two points, six places and 11 points behind Panis.
After the season concluded, it was announced that Diniz would leave Ligier for the Arrows team for 1997, partnering reigning World Champion Damon Hill. An important factor was the amount of sponsorship Diniz brought to Arrows, estimated to be worth $13 million.
For 1997, Diniz was confident heading into the season and his decision to join Arrows, saying: "The all-round strength of the package Tom [Walkinshaw] has put together for 1997 made the decision very easy for me". Diniz started his season with a finish in Australia and later suffered from consecutive retirements in the next five races. He managed to finish eighth in Canada, before picking up further consecutive retirements in the next four races. Diniz managed to secure a seventh-place finish in Belgium, however he had been running in an excellent third place before a problem at his first pit stop dropped him out of contention. Diniz suffering a further retirement in Italy, however he managed to secure finishes in the next three consecutive races, which included a points scoring finish at the Luxembourg Grand Prix and retired from the final race of the season at the European Grand Prix. Diniz's reputation grew throughout the season from a mere pay driver to a genuine racing driver, he managed to out-qualify teammate Hill in Belgium and Japan, two of the most technically challenging tracks on the calendar, also having a number of strong race performances. In October, Arrows announced that Diniz had signed a one-year extension to his contract, remaining with the team for 1998. Diniz finished the season in sixteenth place in the Drivers' Championship, with two points, and finished four places behind team-mate Hill.
Diniz remained at Arrows for 1998, partnered by Mika Salo. Diniz endured a torrid start: his car suffered gearbox problems in the opening three rounds and endured engine failures in the races at San Marino and Spain. He scored his first point of the season with a sixth-place finish in Monaco and managed to finish the races in Canada and France. Diniz suffered three more consecutive retirements, and finished the races in Hungary and Belgium, in eleventh and fifth respectively. Diniz finished the season by retiring in the final three races. He finished 14th in the Drivers' Championship, and was tied on points with team-mate Salo.
At the end of the season, Diniz became embroiled in a contract dispute. On 12 October, Diniz chose to leave Arrows and signed a contract to join Sauber, having been previously linked to a seat at BAR. Arrows, however, insisted that they had the right to exercise their option to keep Diniz. Diniz argued that the Arrows option contained a clause allowing him to leave if Arrows did not deliver performances required by the driver. The dispute went to Formula One's Contract Recognition Board, who ruled in favour of Diniz on 22 February. Arrows later sued Diniz for £4 million, for breach of contract. The case was later heard by the Commercial High Court in London in February 2001 and ruled that Arrows owner Tom Walkinshaw pay Diniz £500,000 in compensation. Arrows later applied for an appeal against the decision, and the Court of Appeal ruled in Diniz's favour in February 2002.
For 1999, Diniz partnered experienced driver Jean Alesi at Sauber. He endured a torrid start: He was forced into retirement in the first five races held in the season; and in the sixth race of the season held in Canada, he managed to score his first point of the season with a sixth-place finish. Diniz suffered a retirement at the next round in France, before clinching consecutive sixth-place finishes in the next two races and later suffered further consecutive retirements in the following six races. In late August, it was announced that Diniz would remain at Sauber for 2000. At the European Grand Prix, Diniz was hit by Benetton driver Alexander Wurz who sent the Sauber driver into a barrel roll and suffered a bruised knee and shoulder, resulting from his car's roll hoop becoming damaged. The season was somewhat of a disappointment for both the team and the driver, however although Diniz only finished four races all season he scored points in three of them. Diniz finished the season fourteenth in the Drivers' Championship and scored three points.
For 2000, Diniz again competed with Sauber and was partnered with Mika Salo. Team principal Peter Sauber stated Diniz and Salo would have equal status and that the former would use his experience over the upcoming season.
Diniz started off the season by retiring with transmission problems in Australia. He, along with Salo, were forced to withdraw from the Brazilian Grand Prix due to potentially dangerous wing failures during the weekend. He managed to finish in the next two races—eighth in San Marino and eleventh at the British Grand Prix—which was followed by a retirement at the Spanish Grand Prix due to a spin on the first lap. He was involved in a collision with Giancarlo Fisichella's Benetton in Austria for which he received a stop-go penalty, and in Germany, Diniz collided with Prost driver Jean Alesi forcing both drivers to retire. Diniz finished the year scoring no points and was unclassified in the Drivers' Championship.
Diniz became unhappy at Sauber over a test session shoot out at Mugello against fellow countryman Enrique Bernoldi. He held talks with the Prost and Sauber teams during October, and could not find a race seat with either team. Diniz decided to withdraw from active motorsport and his family purchased a 40 percent stake of the Prost team for $10 million and took a management role within the team.
In late 2001, the Diniz family offered to purchase the remaining share although negotiations with team principal Alain Prost resulted in no agreement. Diniz formally left the team in November as his relationship with Prost had deteriorated
Diniz announced the creation of a new racing series, the Formula Renault 2.0 Brazil Championship in November 2001. Diniz was a partner of the Wonder Inn, Fernando de Noronha between July 2003 and May 2009. He subsequently became a partner in his father's supermarket chain and operates an organic produce and dairy farm. He married Tatiana who works alongside Diniz and has two children.
|1989||Brazilian Formula Ford 1600||?||11||?||0||?||?||0||6th|
|1990||Formula 3 Sudamericana||Daacar||12||0||0||1||1||4||15th|
|1991||British Formula 3 Championship||West Surrey Racing||14||0||0||0||0||1||12th|
|1992||British Formula 3 Championship||Edenbridge Racing||15||0||0||0||2||8||12th|
|Masters of Formula 3||Edenbridge Racing||1||0||0||0||0||0||20th|
|British Formula 3000||Edenbridge Racing||1||0||0||0||0||0||-|
|1993||International Formula 3000||Forti Corse||8||0||0||0||0||0||-|
|Formula 3 Sudamericana||?||1||0||0||0||0||0||-|
|1994||International Formula 3000||Forti Corse||8||0||0||0||0||3||12th|
|1995||Formula One||Parmalat Forti Ford||17||0||0||0||0||0||NC|
|1996||Formula One||Ligier Gauloises Blondes||16||0||0||0||0||2||15th|
|1997||Formula One||Danka Arrows Yamaha||17||0||0||0||0||2||16th|
|1998||Formula One||Danka Zepter Arrows||16||0||0||0||0||3||14th|
|1999||Formula One||Red Bull Sauber Petronas||16||0||0||0||0||3||14th|
|2000||Formula One||Red Bull Sauber Petronas||16||0||0||0||0||0||18th|
Complete International Formula 3000 results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
Complete Formula One results
† Did not finish, but was classified as he had completed more than 90% of the race distance.
- "The Diniz Family buys into Prost". GrandPrix.com. Inside F1, Inc. 30 November 2000. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
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- "Zonta or Diniz for BAR?". GrandPrix.com. Inside F1, Inc. 14 September 1998. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
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- "Diniz hit by a 4m pounds wit". The Free Library. The Mirror. 14 January 1999. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- Atlas F1 (9 February 2001). "Diniz Wins Legal Battle Against Arrows". Autosport. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- "Arrows lose Diniz appeal". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 5 February 2002. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- "Salo and Diniz at Sauber". GrandPrix.com. Inside F1, Inc. 30 August 1999. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- "Herbert races to shock GP triumph". BBC Sport. BBC. 27 September 1999. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- "1999: All Drivers". Formula1.com. Formula One Management. Archived from the original on November 20, 2014. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- Reuters (2 February 2000). "Sauber Launch: Salo and Diniz Start as Equals". Atlas F1. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- "Sauber Pull Out of Brazilian Grand Prix". Atlas F1. Haymarket Publications. 25 March 2000. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
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- "Rain, shine and Barrichello at the German GP". Motorsport.com. 30 July 2000. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- "2000: All Drivers". Formula1.com. Formula One Management. Archived from the original on December 16, 2014. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- "Diniz unhappy with Sauber after Bernoldi contest". GrandPrix.com. Inside F1, Inc. 26 August 2000. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
- "Diniz's future with Prost or Sauber but not Minardi". GrandPrix.com. Inside F1, Inc. 17 October 2000. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
- "Diniz drops driving duties to become shareholder in Prost Grand Prix". GrandPrix.com. Inside F1, Inc. 30 November 2000. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
- Henry, Alan (29 January 2002). "Debts end Prost grand prix dream". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
- "Pedro Diniz confirms split with Prost". motorsport.com. 3 November 2001. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
- State Agency (20 November 2001). "Brasil terá F-Renault por cinco anos" [Brazil will have F-Renault for five years]. Estadão Esportes (in Portuguese). Retrieved 18 December 2014.
- "João Paulo Diniz e Luciano Huck vendem participação em pousada em Fernando de Noronha" [João Paulo Dinz and Luciano Huck sell stake in hotel in Fernando de Noronha]. Exame.com (in Portuguese). 18 May 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
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