Antonio Giovinazzi will make his first practice appearance with the Haas F1 Team this weekend at Silverstone, and Team Principal Guenther Steiner feels they will not suffer by running a test driver in place of its race driver.
Italian Giovinazzi, the reserve driver at Scuderia Ferrari and a two-time race starter this season with the Sauber F1 Team, will participate in seven free practice sessions this season, six in place of Kevin Magnussen and one in place of Romain Grosjean.
Steiner feels Giovinazzi’s runs will not hurt the team as they battle for points, with both Grosjean and Magnussen having had strong results, and he believes the Italian can come in and do an excellent job behind the wheel.
“If we play it clever, I would say it is not an advantage,” said Steiner to Motorsport.com. “I would not pretend that it is an advantage to us, but if we play it clever then we can get a net zero – if we get him in the tune that he does testing, that is the aim.
“We are not having Giovinazzi running around just so he looks good. We are actually giving him work to do. He is driving the Ferrari quite a few times, he has done some races, and he can come into it.
“It will not be a plus, but we need to get out a net zero that he does the testing for one of our drivers.”
Steiner admits that it is important to give the next generation drivers, such as Giovinazzi, the opportunity to run as much as possible in the cars otherwise they run the risk of losing the talent elsewhere.
“We always need to see the next generation,” said Steiner. “We need to give the young guys an opportunity, otherwise we can end up without talent because at the moment to get into F1 is so difficult.
“You can only do testing two days a year in the rookie test, or otherwise with a three-year old car. It is a very odd thing. The teams need to be wanting to help some young talent, otherwise we end up with no drivers any more. The youngsters need to have a perspective of their future.
“You win or finish second in GP2, and what do you do? Look at [Pierre] Gasly – he had to go to Japan to race because there was nothing for him here. They need to be able to show their talent.”