Liuzzi was born in Locorotondo, Italy, and like most auto racing drivers, began his career in kart racing in 1991. Highlights of his early career include winning the 1993 Italian Karting Championship, and in 1995, taking second place in the World Karting Championship and fifth place in the European Karting Championship. His karting career culminated in winning the 2001 World Karting Championship, beating Formula One champion Michael Schumacher in one race.
Liuzzi then moved on to cars; he raced in the 2001 German Formula Renault Championship, finishing second. Racing in the German Formula 3 Championship, he managed only ninth place overall. However, in that year he won the San Marino international Formula 3 race and had test drives for the Coloni Formula 3000 team and Williams, the Formula One constructor. Coloni took Liuzzi on board for the 2003 Formula 3000 season in which he finished fourth overall. He moved to the Arden team for the following Formula 3000 season. There, he dominated, winning seven of the ten races, and taking the title with one race left.
Liuzzi's form in Formula 3000 led to speculation that Ferrari might want to employ him, either as a test driver at their Formula One team, or at Sauber, the Formula One team with whom they are closely associated. Indeed, he had a test drive with Sauber in September, 2004, but ultimately lost out on a race seat to Jacques Villeneuve. In November, 2004 he was given another test drive, this time with Red Bull. This led to him joining Red Bull for 2005. Initially it seemed that he might be given the race seat alongside David Coulthard, but the team favoured Christian Klien, leaving Liuzzi with the position of test driver. Despite Klien's good performances in the first three races of the season, Red Bull abided by an agreement they made with Liuzzi and Klien before the season that they would both have a chance to race. They announced that Liuzzi would replace Klien for the San Marino, Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix. Liuzzi impressed, scoring his maiden point on his debut after both BAR drivers were disqualified from the San Marino race. After the Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix he was given another race at the European Grand Prix, before his seat was handed back to Klien for the Canadian Grand Prix.
Following Red Bull's purchase of the Minardi team, Liuzzi was rewarded with a race seat in the 'B-team'.