Current Antonio Giovinazzi

Thought I'd write an unexpected thread for an unexpected debutante. Giovinazzi's performance in his late call up seems to have impressed everyone and so he is a very worth add to the CTA Formula One Drivers section.

Born in Martina Franca, Italy he is the grand old age of 23. To make some of us feel old Alain Prost had already won 4 titles and retired (twice) before he was born. Started the usual way with success in Karting and winning some trophies there (Italian and Euro), moved on to British F3 (runner up in 2013), European F3 (runner up in 2015) and GP2 (runner up in 2016). Along the way he's also had a couple of races in DTM and a go at Le Mans last year. He's certainly held his own in every series he has entered.

Personally I first came across him racing in European F3 in the 2014 season. If you remember that years field was particularly strong and featured the likes of Esteban Ocon, Max Verstappen, Felix Rosenqvist, Tom Blomqvist and Antonio Fuoco. Once again Giovinazzi held his own that year with a couple of wins and placing 6th in the championship. The following year he did better but still only finished as runner up for the title behind Rosenqvist. Overall I viewed him as a fun driver to watch. nice bloke but not a world beater. That all started to change when he got into GP2.

His promotion to GP2 was a bit of a surprise to me and I saw it as a step up. I expected him to struggle. Guess what? I was massively wrong once more. In only the second meeting he took pole position, victory in the feature race and victory in the sprint race. This had not been done since 2012 and had only been done by 3 people ever. It had certainly never been done by a rookie who had barely raced on pirelli rubber before. Even if it was a flash in the pan it was impressive but he continued the good form. He did eventually lose out in the title race to his much more experience and heavily backed team mate Gasly, but not without putting him under a hell of a lot of pressure. Giovinazzi really showed he was a smart driver and I think a lot of people got quite excited about him last year. It was certainly enough to finally show up on Ferrari's radar and be signed to the team in September 2016.

Thats the quite interesting thing about Giovinazzi - he's not been brought through the ranks by an F1 junior program. Ferrari pretty much sign every young Italian driver going but somehow hadn't touched Giovinazzi. It was only after he'd done all the hard work that they came calling. He started with some simulator stuff and was made official 3rd driver for 2017 which is how he ended up in line for the Sauber drive. Antonio must love the race of champions, Wherlein's niggling injury kept him out (David Croft suggested it might be something political by the way but not heard anything about that) and he was given the nod on Saturday morning that he would be making his F1 debut. It was certainly brown trouser time but he seemed to take it in his stride. He'd done one test session pre-season and seemed to know the car well. He nearly pipped his team mate in quali and then had a pretty impressive race. Not to shabby seeing as he was in a Sauber which is supposed to be a dog!

Will that be it for his 2017 racing? probably. He has certainly put himself top of the stand in list for any team though and put himself in the shop window for a drive next year already. You have to wonder if Ferrari might stump up some cash to get him a race seat as a potential replacement for Kimi when he finally goes. He can now walk around with his chest puffed out and a swagger saying he is officially an F1 driver though. Well played chap.
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In his last GP event for Sauber he totals the car twice. He was pushing to hard to make up for the first mistake, only to find himself in the wall again. As they say in China: "A single slip may cause a lasting sorrow" but I hope that isn't the case for his career.
He'd had a grand total of 1:15 mins track time on a track be didn't know prior to being unleashed on a damp race. I think it was always going to be a tough ask.

Hopefully this won't damage his chances of a drive next year but you never know in F1
Very impressive first race followed by a nightmare 2nd race.
I'm hoping he is racing again in Bahrain and can redeem himself.
I'm surprised Crofty noticed he was on the grid. Maybe he was in the background of a Max Verstappen shot or something.

Edit - ya know as Crofty is actually a member of this forum we should prob start tagging him.
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I hate that Croft calls him Joe Vinazzi, what a cock.
Or his "Danny Rick" as of they're best buds, since joining SkySports he has turned into "insert line here". Or maybe I just living off the nostalgia of the seasons 2007- 2011 when I used to listen to BBC 5 Live during the races.
Yeah, we did go a bit off topic didn't we. I can't believe Wehrlein will be back for Bahrain so maybe Giovinazzi will get a dry race to prove himself.
Not sure I've said this but if Giovanazzi does race in Bahrain then he no longer qualifies for the young driver test. As he is on Ferrari's payroll for that exact reason it will be interesting if they let him do Bahrain.
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