Antonio Giovinazzi enjoyed his last FP1 outing at Sauber in the 2018 season, clocking a best lap of 1'41''662 in P16. The Italian will make his F1 debut next year with the Swiss team, partering Kimi Raikkonen.
Giovinazzi talked us through his winter preparations, which he will mainly spend between his home in Monaco and the factory at Hinwil.
"I will spend a lot of time back at Hinwil, and we will see see what we can improve with the team and on my side, to make sure we are ready for Melbourne and testing. After two years out of races and race weekends, there will be quite a lot of pressure and it will be quite tough for the first races, also because there are a lot of champions and experienced drivers like Kimi."
What is certainly impressive and striking from Sauber is the progress they made throughout the season, which stands for a massively encouraging signal looking towards next year. However, Giovinazzi believes that fighting for P4 in the 2019 constructors' championship is too farfetched.
"They were the best team to race 1 to the last, fighting for the last positions in Melbourne and now they are P8 in the constructors’ championship. Maybe they can try and overtake Force India for P7, they did a fantastic job, as well as Charles and Marcus. I see a lot of high motivation in the team, so this is looking good for me next year. It will be a high target for Sauber to be P4 there is Renault, which is very strong and will be very strong next year as well with its drivers. The target is to be the best of the rest, but we will try."
Although he will be 100% focused on Sauber, he clarifies that he is going back to his Ferrari duties for the remainder of the weekend. "I will be in red again tomorrow, because my role is at Ferrari this year."
The past two seasons were instrumental to acquire experience, especially at the Ferrari simulator. "I did 75.000 kms in the simulator last year. -he added- It was a positive thing to work with Ferrari engineers and stay on the car, obviously it’s not the real car, but these 2 years were not lost at all."
As for post-season testing in Abu Dhabi, Giovinazzi is still unable to give us an update over his tasks, but the ideal target would be obtaining a full day, in order to have more continuity and mileage in. "We don’t know yet. I think I will be doing a day but we don’t know yet, it’s Sauber’s decision."