The 23-year-old Antonio Giovinazzi confirmed that he will be back in red gear starting with the next Formula 1 race, the Chinese GP, which will take place at the end of the week. Scuderia Ferrari’s new reserve driver got the opportunity to race in Australia, after Sauber’s Mercedes-backed main driver Pascal Wehrlein was unable to be present on the grid due to apparent fitness concerns.
Antonio Giovinazzi, who impressed during the GP2 season last year, was widely hailed for his performance at the Albert Park circuit: “It was a perfect weekend because an Italian driver was back in F1 and Ferrari returned to winning.” – he told the Italian broadcaster Sky in Melbourne. The young driver admitted that although Wehrlein pulled out due to a lack of training, he too suffered with fitness issues in Australia: “Physically it was tough, especially my neck in the closing laps. It takes practice because cornering in F1 is completely different. Now I will be in China dressed in red. Then we’ll see.” – Antonio Giovinazzi said, as reported by Sky Sport.
“Antonio has a good future” – A Ferrari insider is quoted by Speed Week – “His talent is obvious. Everyone at Ferrari and Sauber can see it. Now we have to observe whether Wehrlein is fit for China and Bahrain. If not, Giovinazzi is there. And then it’s clear, if Kimi Raikkonen is not interested in 2018 or Ferrari wants to invest in youth, then Antonio will take his place.” – the insider added. Ferrari has therefore decided to make its official reserve driver available to Sauber for the forthcoming China-Bahrain double header.
If German Formula One driver Pascal Wehrlein continues to struggle with fitness concerns ahead of the next two Grands Prix, Antonio Giovinazzi was considered an obvious choice as his replacement. However, journalist Andrea Cremonesi reports that the Maranello team did in fact think about making the 23-year-old Italian unavailable to the Swiss team, because letting Giovinazzi race more for Sauber would make him ineligible to do the “young driver” tests for Ferrari during the second part of the season: “That Giovinazzi will get another opportunity to drive for Sauber now becomes more real” – Andrea Cremonesi said – “Because Ferrari has decided to ‘sacrifice’ being able to use him in the tests after Bahrain.”