Rivola had wanted Giovinazzi in FDA in 2016


Massimo Rivola wanted Antonio Giovinazzi to join the Ferrari Driver Academy in early 2016 - Credit: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service

Ferrari Driver Academy manager Massimo Rivola has admitted that he wanted to see Antonio Giovinazzi join the programme at the beginning of 2016, but feels his promotion to the role of third driver to the Italian outfit is well deserved.

Giovinazzi was one of the standout drivers of the 2016 GP2 Series season, taking the championship battle down to the wire with Prema Racing team-mate Pierre Gasly despite it being his rookie season, and Rivola believes becoming third driver to Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen at Scuderia Ferrari was just reward for such a stunning season.

Rivola believes the Italian’s attitude and talent have taken him this far, and he feels the door should be open to a race seat in Formula 1 despite being twenty-three.

“He’s very strong,” said Rivola. “I wanted him in the Academy already at the beginning of 2016, so I’m very happy that he’s now Ferrari’s third driver. He deserves this chance.

“For me, he is a great talent and his attitude is impressive. It is true that Antonio is 23, but I don’t think it is correct that F1’s door is open only to 18-year-old drivers. Every driver has a personal story, and that is what F1 must look at.”