Formula 1

Giovinazzi to focus on Ferrari reserve role, not race programme in 2017

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World © Octane Photographic Ltd. Formula 1 - Winter Test 1. Antonio Giovinazzi - Sauber F1 Team C36. Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Tuesday 28th February2017. Digital Ref :1781CB1D7070

Popular Scuderia Ferrari academy and reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi has confirmed that there are currently no plans for him to race anywhere in 2017.

The 2016 GP2 runner-up stood in for the injured Pascal Wehrlein at the Sauber F1 Team on day two of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona on Tuesday, in what was the 23-year-olds first outing in an up-to-date F1 machine.

Next year however, Giovinazzi has confirmed to media that he will not compete in any particular series, like many other reserve or third drivers choose to do, and will instead concentrate his time on his Ferrari reserve driver duties, whilst keeping himself fit and ready to step in should he be needed at any point.

“For now I am the third driver.

“I will do a lot in the simulator; I will follow the race weekends in F1 and see what happens.

“It will be more tough than all the years I did in my career, to be in the paddock will be quite different, less adrenaline.

“So far my job is reserve driver in Ferrari, and if Ferrari decided to put me in some team or [give me] something to do, I need to be ready every time.”

Despite having his running cut short in the Sauber, due to engine problems, the Italian was still able to get 67 laps on the board and post the ninth fastest time, an experience Giovinazzi said was a very special moment for him, although it had been physically draining.

“The first official test is always really hard.

“I remember last year when I tested in GP2, you need to train a lot, but when you jump in the car it’s always different thing.

“With the new tyres, for the neck it was quite hard.

“What I saw today is F1 is quite a difficult car, with all the functions in the steering wheel.

“The simulator is also really good to learn these things, and be ready when they want to put me in a car.”

Giovinazzi took second place in the GP2 championship behind Red Bull Racing junior Pierre Gasly last season, on his debut in the series, and impressed with some strong performances that saw him collect five wins.

That campaign spiked Ferrari’s attention, along with his European Formula 3 endeavours in 2015, when he again finished in second place overall, having made it onto the podium on twenty occasions (which included six wins) along the way. The Italian then also added the Masters of Formula 3 race victory to his tally that year as well.

The 23-year-olds commitment to Ferrari is clear, having reportedly turned down the chance to join the Mercedes DTM programme in 2017. No doubt he has his sights set on becoming the next Italian F1 star, and to do that with Ferrari would surely be the icing on the cake!

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