From the Budapest circuit, the Hungaroring, where the Hungarian GP will take place this weekend, Antonio Giovinazzi gave us a few minutes of his time for an interview.
Photo Credit: Alfa Romeo/Xavi Bonilla/DPPI
Liberty Media and the FIA presented their 2022 Show Car at Silverstone: where are you at? Have you had the opportunity to try the new car on the simulator or at least see something more defined?
Antonio Giovinazzi: "We have seen that the 2022 cars are very different from the current ones. We expect cars that are able to follow each other better and that allow for more exciting races thanks to a greater number of overtaking. The whole team has been fully projected towards 2022 for a few weeks now."
"The car is in the wind tunnel. In the simulator, I tried it a little, only once, but from September I think I'll go there more often."
Are you satisfied with what has been achieved this season 2021 or did you expect something more?
Giovinazzi: "We are the team that has earned the most compared to last season, despite starting from a regulation that greatly limited the development of the cars. We are in that phase where the top ten does not come so easy but we are close. This year there are few retirements and so it is more difficult to score points for those behind. However, we are satisfied with the work we have done. The goal between now and the end of the season is to get more points than the 2 we have now."
Regarding 2022: will it be more important to have the attitude of the test driver, a role that you know very well among other things, or the instinctive side?
Giovinazzi: "A little bit of both. When the change of rules is so great, instinct is also important; if you feel at ease with the machine right away, then it is much easier to test and improve it. If, on the other hand, you start from a very distant base from the one you need, the season also starts uphill, and recovering is very difficult. I hope that the change of regulations will benefit some drivers or teams because there may be a surprise and that is what we would like to see next year."
What impressions did the Sprint Race have on you? Do you think this is the right way to go for F1?
Giovinazzi: "It was a demanding weekend because at the end of Friday we only had one free practice session to go directly into qualifying. The second free practices were very tiring because we almost did a Sprint Race, so many laps.
It was a very long weekend at a circuit like Silverstone, very tough, especially for the neck. It wasn't easy. On the Sprint Race, someone took a risk starting with the Soft, gaining positions; for the rest, it was a little train especially in the central part of the grid. We'll see. Maybe on a track where you can overtake more, it could be an ideal format. In short, it will depend a little on the slopes. In conclusion, it was neither very positive nor negative, somewhere in between".
In the current season, we have seen a very good C41 (car) right from the tests, a car that is easily understood in its behavior, with a strong point that is aerodynamic efficiency: where do you have to work to be able to constantly fight in the top ten? What do you expect from Hungary?
Giovinazzi: "The Hungaroring is a style of corners and speed is very similar to Monte Carlo. Obviously, Monaco is a street circuit so it is completely different for other technical factors. If we take that GP, at least from my side of the box, we have had the best weekend of this season.
We hope to go better than Silverstone, reminding us that here in Hungary qualifying is very important and also the first lap because it is very difficult to overtake.
As for the car, we are all very close. We still have 2-3 tenths of a second left, then it depends on the circuit. Unfortunately, the development on the C41 is finished so we will have to try to invent something, on the tires that are very sensitive to temperatures, but also try to be perfect with strategy, pit stops, and more because if we are not perfect this year, with the fact that there are few withdrawals, it is difficult to score points. We must be perfect."
What will your future be like?
Giovinazzi: "I can't tell you anything yet. In the end, it will be a decision by Alfa Romeo, but also by Ferrari for sure. Being a Ferrari driver, we'll see. I'll do my best to stay here again next year."
What is the aspect where you think you have improved the most since entering F1?
Giovinazzi: "I have improved a little everywhere. First of all the experience: the first year, when you arrive in F1, it is very difficult, even more so for me who entered after being stopped 2. With a few races, a few laps, when you start racing, competing, you learn from the body, you understand better how to manage the race, the tires, save fueling [how to manage the kg of fuel in the various stages of the race]. It becomes more 'normal' and you can focus only on yourself trying to drive better. I think this is the factor that has helped me the most. For the rest, I think that in qualifying in the first year I was very fast while in the race I improved a lot."
The Ferrari engine has improved: what contribution has it given to your car?
Giovinazzi: "The new Ferrari Power Unit has given us an important help. However, the team's work on aerodynamics and the other macro parts of the car was also useful so it's all one".
How did you feel with the new rear tires introduced at Silverstone?
Giovinazzi: "From the point of view of the balance and the feeling of the driver it was very similar. I didn't notice huge differences."
Monaco and Baku have been your best weekends of this 2021: why does it come from the fact that you particularly like the two tracks or was the car adapting better?
Giovinazzi: "They are two city circuits so instinct and above all confidence are also very important. Especially in Monaco, from the very first free practice sessions I felt very comfortable with the car and I believe that especially when you are on a street circuit, having a car that immediately gives you a good feeling, allows you to push lap after lap and get a better result."
How did you experience the Europeans in a team that has various nationalities inside?
Giovinazzi: "We played the second match against Switzerland, in short, against my team. Then we found Austria, and we were right in Spielberg to compete. It was great, also because I believe that no one expected that Italy could reach the final and above all win it.
They came from a world championship where we did not qualify, from a difficult time for Italy due to Covid. We have shown that we are a people that never give up and that in the face of difficulties fight and get up stronger than before. It was a great demonstration for everyone, not only for football, for sport, but for the people who have suffered a lot in the last 2 years. Seeing the national team win was a great rematch."
Looking at the calendar, what are the Grand Prix that could be favorable to your car?
Giovinazzi: "One of those could have been Singapore, but unfortunately we won't be racing. However, this year is difficult: in circuits that we expected to go fast maybe we went less fast than another circuit where we thought we were in more difficulty and vice versa. It is very difficult because you have to find the right tire window, be at the right time with the wind. What I can tell you is that I can't wait to do the Monza Grand Prix because it's my home Grand Prix and that's what I look forward to most".
Written By: Giuliano Duchessa and Piergiuseppe Donadoni
Photo Credit: Alfa Romeo Orlen