Mattia Binotto says it is important Antonio Giovinazzi feels he still has the full support and backing of Scuderia Ferrari, as rumours about the uncertainty of his position within Alfa Romeo Racing for 2020 continue to spread.
Ferrari placed Giovinazzi at Alfa Romeo in 2019 alongside their former driver Kimi Räikkönen, but whereas the Finn has scored thirty-one points in the opening fourteen races, the Italian has only broken into the top ten on two occasions, scoring three points and sitting eighteenth in the Drivers’ Championship.
However, Giovinazzi has shown good form on occasion, particularly in Qualifying, and he was running inside the points in the Belgian Grand Prix before a last lap crash saw him miss out on the top ten. He was also penalised post-race by the Stewards from a points-paying position in the German Grand Prix for an offence not of his own doing.
Binotto, the Team Principal of Ferrari, says Giovinazzi has some important races ahead of him if he wants to help his cause to stay with Alfa Romeo for a second season, and Ferrari remain confident the Italian can show on a more regular basis just what they know he is capable of.
“There was a mistake in Belgium which undoubtedly penalised him, but he was in the points, and then confirmed himself in the top ten also at Monza,” Binotto said to Motorsport.com. “Antonio is growing, but he also needs to be supported as he deserves.
“At the moment I don’t think he’s as calm as he should be, so I think it’s right to make him feel the confidence of Ferrari, as he’s one of our drivers. Now Antonio has important races ahead of him in which he can confirm his growth.
“It’s not a test, but it’s an opportunity to prove what he’s already shown in his last races.”
Binotto feels the almost two-year hiatus from regular motor sport will have hurt Giovinazzi heading into 2019, with only one race – the 2018 24 hours of Le Mans – in between this season’s opener in Australia and his last outing in Formula 1, which was the Chinese Grand Prix of 2017 when he replaced Pascal Wehrlein at the Sauber F1 Team.
“This season he has not yet had the opportunity to show his full potential, but there are several aspects to take into account,” insisted Binotto. “The first, and I think the most important, is the one related to the two years of inactivity on the race track.
“We have seen how Antonio’s performance in qualifying has progressively improved, coming very close to Kimi’s performance, while in the race he still pays something, especially wheel-to-wheel.
“I think it’s due to the lack of confidence that can be linked to the two years of forced absence, but what really matters is the positive trend.”