Antonio Giovinazzi has admitted that the call from the Scuderia Ferrari team to sign him as the Test and Reserve Driver for the 2017 Formula 1 season came as a surprise, although he had hoped his GP2 Series results in 2016 would open doors in the premier single seater category.
The Italian finished runner-up to Pierre Gasly in GP2 this year despite it being his rookie campaign, taking a season high five race wins, and will now undertake simulator work for the Maranello-based team as well as likely outings when a young driver is required during the in-season tests.
“The test on the simulator after the Italian Grand Prix made believe there was a chance, a glimmer of hope,” said Giovinazzi to Motorsport.com. “I hoped that some F1 teams would show interest in what I had been doing in GP2, but to know Ferrari was really interested to meet me was a big surprise. Then there was a second call, and there things were finalised.
“Right now my job is to do testing work on the simulator and make sure I am ready [as a stand-in] in case there is a need. I know that it won’t be pleasant to see the other drivers race while I am sat in the pits.”
Giovinazzi is looking to learn about the world of Formula 1 during 2017 in order to be prepared to join the grid in 2018, something he is determined to achieve, and something that would make him the first Italian to race in F1 since Jarno Trulli and Vitantonio Liuzzi in 2011.
“For me Formula 1 is a new world, and I will make the most of this opportunity to learn as much as possible by being in contact with Ferrari’s technical staff and familiarising myself with the whole environment,” said Giovinazzi. “And then I hope to be on track in 2018.”