Antonio Giovinazzi wants to prove that he can be more than just a simulator driver in Formula 1 and wants to be on the grid full time in 2019.
The Italian has been the reserve driver for Scuderia Ferrari these past two seasons and is also acting as the official third driver for the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team in 2018, but his last full-time campaign of racing was when he finished second to then-Prema Racing team-mate Pierre Gasly in the final year of GP2 in 2016, with only two F1 starts – both for Sauber as an injury replacement for Pascal Wehrlein at the beginning of 2017 – and sporadic sportscar appearances since.
Giovinazzi feels ready to step out of the shadows and become a fully-fledged Formula 1 driver, with the twenty-four-year-old admitting it is difficult to be sitting on the side-lines and not being one of the twenty drivers on the current grid.
“I’m not a simulator driver – I want to be in the car,” Giovinazzi is quoted as saying by Autosport. “It’s my target for next year.
“I want to have my opportunity and see if I’m ready. I want to show I’m here because I’m a good driver and not [just] a simulator driver.
“I’m already a really lucky guy. I’m already third driver in Scuderia Ferrari, where for many drivers it is maybe a dream. For me, when I signed for Ferrari it was a dream come true.
“Of course to not be on the track is really hard, but I wait one year, I’m waiting now. But like I say, I want just my opportunity and show I’m here because I’m a good driver.”
The Italian has taken part in two free practice sessions so far in 2018 with Sauber and has four more opportunities to come across the remaining nine Grand Prix, and he hopes the outings can put him into a position where he can step into a race seat with the team next year.
“I’m really happy with the team, they are working really well at Sauber,” said Giovinazzi. “Why not? But we need to wait. Now our focus is to have a good feeling with the car and try to know all the people in the team – the mechanics, engineers. And then if it will happen I will be already ready with all the team.
“It depends on the moves of the other drivers. [There are] a lot of rumours [about whether] many drivers will change teams or leave. We need to wait. For sure the target is to be on the grid. I hope I can be on the grid next year.”