Giovinazzi primed to replace Raikkonen at Ferrari


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Italian driver, and 2016 GP2 runner-up Antonio Giovinazzi, has positioned himself perfectly for a Ferrari drive after his heroics during the Australian Grand Prix last weekend.

Ex Maranello team boss Cesare Fiorio gave a ‘thumbs up’ to Giovinazzi’s Melbourne performance speaking on Italian Radio Anch’io lo Sport (Rai).

“What Antonio did in Melbourne was outstanding, particularly as he was woken up on Saturday morning to replace the Sauber driver (Pascal Wehrlein),” said Fiorio. 

“I have followed him for 4-5 years and he is definitely the best talent we (Italy) have and is ready for formula one. Ferrari did well to put him under contract and I hope they will give him a chance.”

After impressing last year in GP2, Ferrari quickly made the young Italian driver their reserve driver for this year. Sauber of course, is powered by Ferrari engines which ultimately paved the way for his F1 debut in the land of Oz.
Fiorio also believes that Giovinazzi, for who is 23, has to be the odds on choice to replace an ageing Kimi Raikkonen at the end of this season.

“His (Raikkonen’s) last season with Alonso and the first with Vettel were embarrassing, although he recovered last year with Vettel.

“But by the end of the season, he starts to be a driver at 38, 39 years old and then I think it’s time to conclude his adventure at Ferrari,” he added.

Fiorio also spoke fondly of Sebastian’s performance in Melbourne, also alluding to the misfortune of 2016 at the same time.

“Last year was the result of anxiety — he did a very bad season. So it was important for Vettel to let everyone know he is a four time world champion.

“And Ferrari also had to show Mercedes that this year they will put them in great difficulty.

“It was said that without British engineering you cannot go anywhere, but instead (Sergio) Marchionne’s team of young engineers was the winning choice.

“Now comes the hard part,” explained Fiorio. “With the new rules, they must add a tenth at each grand prix, so two seconds by the end of the season.

“If Ferrari can do this they will remain competitive, if not they will stay where they were before. It will take a great effort in the area of aerodynamics,” he said.

It is apparent that the Italian team would love to have another Italian driver on the grid, and quite possibly in one of their cars. Would the signing of Antonio also pave for the way a return to the #1, #2, driver pairing strategy of the dominant Schumacher/Barrichello era?

You have to conclude that Sebastian would hope so.

9 responses to “Giovinazzi primed to replace Raikkonen at Ferrari

  1. Fiorio is a seasoned fool it seems. Despite his extensive success in rallying his F1 foray was somewhat lacking.

    Even his agreed signing of Senna was overturned by the Fiat board in 1991!

    Ferrari doesn’t give two hoots about Italian drivers. If they aren’t good enough they will not be adopted by the squad. In Italy it’s Ferrari that’s the news not the drivers.

    Fisichella, Badoer and Larini have only had bit parts. Ferrari is about success not kindergarten or finishing schools

  2. Let’s not forget that Kimi Raikoonen is the last Ferrari champion. And let’s not forget he is the most popular driver in F1.

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