Barbazza earned a reputation as a wild but fast driver in Italian F3, finishing third in the series with a Dallara-Alfa in 1985.
Frustrated at the lack of opportunities in Europe, he then took the unusual step of moving across the Atlantic to contest the newly created American Racing Series, which he won.
More success was to follow in 1987. Filling a vacancy in Frank Arciero's Indy Car team, Fabrizio took a splendid third place at Indianapolis, earning the accolade of top rookie, and finished twelfth in the final points standings to claim the PPG Rookie of the Year Award.
Still intent on breaking into Grand Prix racing, Barbazza returned to Europe and scraped around in F3000 before finally securing an F1 drive in 1991, only to endure a dismal time fruitlessly attempting to qualify the AGS.
Finding the finance to buy a seat in the Minardi team for 1993, Fabrizio confirmed that he has ability, gaining two valuable sixth places for the team before making way for Pierluigi Martini at mid-season.
In 1995 Barbazza once again headed Stateside to race, but after finishing eighth in the Daytona 24 Hours, he was very seriously injured in a horrendous multiple accident at Road Atlanta, which destroyed his Ferrari 333SP.
Fabrizio spent a year recuperating before announcing to retire from racing. He has subsequently been involved in the design and development of safety features for racing circuits.