Giovinazzi unfazed with growing Leclerc-Sauber speculations for 2018 F1 season
Ferrari is in a spot bother as it has two of its young guns in the reckoning for a Formula 1 race seat for the 2018 season. The 2016 GP2 runner-up Antonio Giovinazzi and the 2017 FIA Formula 2 champion Charlec Leclerc, both have shown immense talent to deserve a seat, with the former even serving as a third driver in the current season.
However, with the performance of rookie Leclerc in the junior formulae, the Monegasque has stamped his authority, forcing his way into the frame for the seat. At the same time, Giovinazzi's name seemed to be sidelined, even though the Italian manufacturer is still trying to find a seat for both.
When I asked Giovinazzi if it bothers him that Leclerc's name has been strongly linked to the Sauber seat, while his name hasn't - the Italian felt unconcerned about the situation, stating that he knows these kind of things happen in the F1 world and that it is nothing new.
"Last year when I was in GP2 my name was in the paddock because I did a fantastic year," he said exclusively. "I'm not surprised because I know this world. Charles did a good job [in F2], he won the title, so of course now in the paddock Charles is the big name.
"Last year it was my name, this year it's Charles, maybe next year it can be my name. I know this world, and I need just to agree with the voices in the paddock," the Italian said, adding that he has no thoughts on what will happen if Leclerc is chosen ahead of him in 2018.
Giovinazzi has had a busy year after he made a surprise grand prix debut in Australia with Sauber due to Pascal Wehrlein's injury. He followed it up with another outing in China, before having a rookie test with Ferrari and completing the year with FP1 runs with Haas.
Having driven the three different cars in all, Giovinazzi conceded that a lack of consistent run did hurt his chances, which also included Ferrari's simulator work. It was slightly difficult for him to adjust straightway and bring performance.
"It’s really hard, for sure I drove so many cars, but the problem was not to drive so many cars, but how," he started. "In FP1, the programme is not very easy, you jump on track for one hour and 30 minutes - if you have no problem with the weather or with the car.
"Then you jump back maybe after two weekends, after two months, so it is really difficult programme. It requires to have a really consistent time in the car every weekend, so this is a thing which was my problem this year.
"I am still happy that I learn a lot from what I did in the sim, from the meeting that I follow from Sebastian and Kimi, so I am for sure a different driver. It was a different year but a good year for me [in terms of driving so many cars]."
Sauber's decision has been put off until after the weekend, with Marcus Ericsson still in the running along with the two Ferrari young drivers. The Italian admitted that he is not in a good position, since it is already nearing December and he still has no other option. The foremost plan first is to stay on with Ferrari.
Going by Ferrari's logic with how it puts drivers, especially as we see with Kimi Raikkonen's contract getting extension despite the Finn not being at his best, it will mean that Giovinazzi will get a preference, however, with Leclerc's promising talent, the Italian manufacturer is in a peculiar place.