Giovinazzi admits: "Not easy" returning to F1 after two years without competing

25-01-2020 08:43 | Updated: 25-01-2020 09:28
by Nicolás Quarles van Ufford
Giovinazzi admits: Not easy returning to F1 after two years without competing

After completing his first full season in Formula 1, Antonio Giovinazzi has admitted it was difficult for him to get used to the sport again after being sidelined for two years.

Giovinazzi, a Ferrari Driver Academy product, had two Grands Prix' worth of experience before the 2019 season, filling in at Sauber for the recovering Pascal Wehrlein at both the Australian and the Chinese Grand Prix. 

The Italian did well to finish 12th at Albert Park but had a nightmare weekend in Shanghai, crashing during both qualifying and during the race. It proved to be the last F1 race he'd participate until 2019, when he was announced as an Alfa Romeo driver as part of the team's partnership with Ferrari.

Struggle at the start

The 2019 campaign did not start very well for Giovinazzi, who went eight races without scoring any points until he finished 10th at the Austrian Grand Prix, his only point before the summer break.

He got it going as the year progressed, however, out-qualifying veteran teammate Kimi Raikkonen more often than not in the tail-end of the season. His race pace also seemed to pick up, although he did still make the odd mistake like in the final lap of the Belgian Grand Prix. He dropped it while being on for a points finish, smashing into the barriers.

“I was improving race after race,” the 26-year-old was quoted by when looking back on his first full season in F1.

“It was not easy to come back into the races after two years of stop. So my main target was improving race by race.”

While Raikkonen was reeling in the points in the first half of the season, Giovinazzi was almost always left empty-handed at the end of races as the gulf in pace between the two sometimes looked to be quite big despite the Italian's obvious talent. 

“I had a tough first part of the season,” the former Ferrari reserve driver admitted. 

“In the second part I think I learned and I improved and I grew up like a driver. This was one of my main targets.”

In the second half of the season, Alfa Romeo struggled to keep up with the rest of midfield as they had done at the start, and points finishes became rarer. It was Giovinazzi who got more points finishes than Raikkonen after the summer break, and it was announced he could keep his seat for 2020.

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