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Giovinazzi: Raikkonen, not Leclerc as reference for 2019

Antonio Giovinazzi made his debut on brand-new Alfa Romeo Racing C38 as he looks after his first full season in Formula 1 with a World Champion as team-mate.

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Giovinazzi: Raikkonen, not Leclerc as reference for 2019
Fuente imagen: Formula1.com

Alfa Romeo's F1 comeback also featured the arrive of an Italian driver in the Circus after so many years. Antonio Giovinazzi had a successful GP2 rookie year in 2016 with Prema, where he just lost the title in the final race in Abu Dhabi against his team-mate Pierre Gasly. That outstanding performance put him on Ferrari's map, as he entered Ferrari Drivers Academy and ran for Sauber in the first two races of season 2017.

But season 2019 will be Giovinazzi's first chance to really shine in Formula 1, as he finally found a car for the whole season. During a press conference at the end of winter test day two in Montmelò, he was asked about his target for 2019. “It's difficult to say now. At first, we must discover the potential of the car and the performance of our rivals. My goal is to improve myself day by day from today on. I have at my side an excellent reference. The goal from the first race is to learn a lot and improve race by race.”

“It's certainly different to get on track in the tests knowing you have a car for the entire season. It's obviously different, but I already had this feeling at the end of September when I had the official contract for 2019. The other FP1s I ran last year also helped me to master the car, the team, to work with the engineers. This is my first official day for a full season and it's a different way of working because I'll have to work for me, to improve my car, but also with Kimi to do a good team job. Try to move the development in the right direction and improve it for me", he added.

Speaking about his new car, Giovinazzi described the C38 as a good start point: The car was born well, we had a good start. There is still a lot to improve but we are here for that. This is what we will do in these test sessions. Try to improve the car and bring a competitive car to Melbourne. We tried many things today and it was all positive. What the team expected was what I expected, so everything worked out.”

The Italian driver was finally asked about his references, with a world champion on his side and last year's Leclerc season as a legacy to look after: I will not look at the results obtained by Charles last year. I focus only on myself, my goal is to improve myself race by race. I have Kimi who is a great reference, then we'll see at the end of the season. I looked at his data yesterday, I got an idea. That's what I'll have to do all year. I know very well that it will always be fast because it is a world champion. So yes, for me it is a good reference to always have his telemetry immediately after the run, to be taken as a reference to improve.”

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