Tomas Luis Gonzalez Figueroa (born 30 March 1995) is an Argentine racing driver who has raced in FF3M under TornadoF1's driver academy and is currently one of the test drivers for Tornado.
Born in the Mataderos district of Buenos Aires, Gonzalez was only a stone's throw away from the Autódromo Oscar Y Juan Gálvez, and he describes his earliest memory as going to the 1997 Argentine Grand Prix, scene of Jacques Villeneuve's first win of the 1997 FF1M season, and as it transpired, the last time FF1M visited Argentina. With no upcoming local drivers, Gonzalez made it his mission to become an FF1M driver and possible champion and represent his country. Prior to his first FF3M race, his competitors described him as a relentlessly fast driver, but particularly shy away from the race car.
Gonzalez took part in the 2012 FF4M SudAm championship and quickly developed a reputation for being a one-lap specialist, with five pole positions in six races. Only one of those pole positions was converted into a win however, and Cristóbal Alvarez looked as if he would win the championship going in the final race at Interlagos, but Gonzalez held his nerve and took the championship by just four points.
For the 2013 FF3M season, Gonzalez was signed by Tornado as part of their young drivers programme, and team boss Tobias arranged for Gonzalez to race with the Puma alongside Canadian Jacques Gauthier. The partnership was extremely one-sided as Gonzalez showed tremendous speed that his junior rivals had alluded to and scored all the points for the Puma team. Despite being the only retirement in the first race at Rio thanks to a puncture, he bounced back to take three podium finishes in a row including his first win at Aragon.
From Paul Ricard to the first race at the Monza meeting, Gonzalez took seven podium finishes in row including two more wins, an FF3M record, but he then lost ground with a gearbox failure at the second Monza race before completely struggling with the changeable conditions of Zandvoort. Despite this, he led the championship going into the daunting Macau meeting, but Genjo Tse was in inspired form to take both wins, leaving Gonzalez as the championship runner up.
During the 2013-14 FF2M Asia Season, Gonzalez was brought in for the final three meetings in the place of Daniil Kvyat at Spaniel Racing, TornadoF1's subdivision, and promptly dominated his first race to win by more than 25 seconds, leading team boss Tobias to give him the nickname of 'Speedy Gonzalez'. Thanks to a second win during the feature at Shanghai, he helped Spaniel take their 5th FF2M Asia constructors championship in a row.
For the 2014 FF2M Season, Gonzalez remained with Spaniel where he partnered Fabio Leimer. For the first race at the Nurburgring, he took a comfortable pole position, but a mid-race collision with Max Verstappen at the Dunlop hairpin consigned the Argentine to 3rd behind the two Ajay Motorsports. He made amends by winning the sprint race after passing Esteban Ocon with just a few laps remaining at the same corner where he and Verstappen collided.
Gonzalez proved to be a quick and reliable driver, finishing in the top ten in every race he took part in. This included six wins, the last of which secured him the drivers championship at the feature race in Monza.
As well as the FF2M promotion, Gonzalez was signed to be one of the two test drivers for Tornado for the 2014 FF1M season. He took part in the young drivers test at Interlagos after the 2013 FF1M season had finished, and with the 2013 Ferrari engine, he set the quickest time during the morning session. With the new Climax powerplant in the afternoon, he was a tenth slower, but still set the 3rd best time.
Gonzalez took part in all eight sessions of pre-season testing for the 2014 season alongside former Monaco race winner Bruno Senna, and set the second fastest time during day two at Imola. He was a regular feature in practice sessions in FF1M and raised a few eyebrows by setting the fastest time during FP1 at the Chinese Grand Prix. His speed plus his championship success meant that not only was he promoted to be Tornado's race driver for the 2015 season, he would participate in the final three races of the 2014 season.
His debut at Singapore provided mixed emotions from team boss Tobias, as Gonzalez found himself in the lead at half distance before a major collision with championship contender Lewis Hamilton caused an airborne moment and the disappearance of his entire nosecone. Despite setting the fastest lap, Gonzalez would suffer a transmission failure with just a few laps to go while on the outskirts of points.
|2012||FF4M SudAm||Carlos Sanchez Racing||6||1||5||2||5||104||1st|
|2013-14||FF2M Asia||Spaniel Racing||6||2||1||2||2||20||7th|