Ricardo started his F1 career testing for Jordan and then McLaren, and in late 1998 he was hot property with offers from Jordan, Sauber, and BAR.
Debut & BAR (1999-2000)
He decided to go with the new BAR team, to partner Jacques Villeneuve. In only his second race, well practice for the second race, he had a big accident in which he injured his ankle which put him out of that, and the three following races. Zonta didn't manage to score any world championchip points in 1999, mind niether could 1997 champ Villeneuve, in fact they could only finish 11 races between them all season.
Ricardo stayed on at BAR with Villeneuve for the 2000 season, and points started coming their way. He picked up three 6th places, earning the team 3 points, and himself 14th in the drivers championship.
Jordan Test Driver (2001)
He was replaced at BAR for 2001 by Olivier Panis, and became the third/test driver for the Jordan team. He competed in two grands prix that year, replacing the injured, and then sacked Heinz-Harald Frentzen.
Ricardo decided to concentrate on other series in 2002, however came back to F1 in 2003 occupying the test driver role for Toyota. A role he stayed in through 2004 and 2005.
He replaced the sacked Cristiano Da Matta for 5 rounds in 2004. He had a fantastic drive at the Belgium GP where he looked to be on for a 4th place finish, however an engine failure would let him down just 3 Laps from the finish.
Renault Test Driver (2007)
In 2007 he became a test driver for the Renault team.