Antonio Giovinazzi, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2018

Ferrari tester Giovinazzi is “on the list” at Sauber for 2019 F1 race seat

2019 F1 season

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Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur says Ferrari third driver Antonio Giovinazzi is “on the list” as a candidate to drive for the team in the 2019 F1 season.

The team could need a replacement for Charles Leclerc next year as the 20-year-old has been linked with a move to Ferrari in place of Kimi Raikkonen.

Giovinazzi did two races for Sauber at the beginning of last season as a substitute for Pascal Wehrlein. He returned to the team today by taking part in first practice at the Hockenheimring.

Vasseur indicated Giovinazzi could make further practice appearances this year as the team considers whether to hire him for next season.

“It’s a good feeling that Antonio wants to be involved,” he said. “We can be proud.

“He will be on the list for sure, we will do some FP1 together, it’s probably the best way for me to know the guy and understand each other and we did the same last year with Charles and I think it was a good first step into the co-operation.”

Giovinazzi and Leclerc are both linked to Sauber through the team’s engine supplier Ferrari. In response to a question from RaceFans, Vasseur said Ferrari will have input into the team’s choice of drive for next year.

“We will discuss with Ferrari,” he said. “It’s not a matter of right but we will discuss together.

Raikkonen has also been linked to a potential move back to Sauber, which gave him his F1 debut in 2001.

“It’s very good feeling to have this sensation that you are attractive,” said Vasseur. “For us it’s important because drivers will stay a key pillar of performance and we need to be part of the game on the drivers’ market and not to be at the back and wait the decisions of the others.

“Now that the situation is a bit more clear at the top with Mercedes booked, Red Bull I don’t know but I think it’s done… Step by step we have a good picture of the top, we are below the top and we will take a decision as soon as possible.”

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14 comments on “Ferrari tester Giovinazzi is “on the list” at Sauber for 2019 F1 race seat”

  1. Kimi back to Sauber? This never crossed my mind. Honestly hope he retires. Good enough guy but let someone else have a crack at it.

  2. This is quite natural considering he is also a Ferrari development driver. It will be a good comparison against LeClerc(considering Erikson is on his way out) on how he stacks up and that might dictate his future in F1.

  3. Substituting Ericsson by Giovinazzi would be very smart on Sauber’s part.

    1. NOT. Crashy!

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      20th July 2018, 21:39

      But to be honest, all we’ve seen from giovinazzi when against Ericsson is him get beaten in qualifying twice, Ericsson look better in the first race until he retired, then Giovinazzi crashed in qualifying and in the race the following race weekend. Then in the few times he appeared in a practice session again later that season, well, he crashed a few more times. Ericsson is one of those drivers towards the back of the grid in terms of skill this year (and his previous years too), but from what we saw of giovinazzi, I’m not sure if he would instantly be better. Especially as the difference between Ericsson and Wehrlein wasn’t that big.

      But I still see Sauber keeping Ericsson due to his money and his sponsors and even without these, I still think he’s just about good enough to deserve to be in F1. There have to be some drivers in the sport that are not as good as the rest. And he isn’t well off everyone is he? He has had a couple of good solid races this year. Bahrain and Austria. He also looked reasonable in most other races. But Baku did look pretty poor and he obviously made a mistake in Britain. But I think leclerc being so good is making Ericsson look worse than he has been this year.

      1. So? The same happened with Leclerc the first two seasons. Those races he wasn’t really better than Ericsson. It wasn’t until he changed his driving style later in the season that he consistently started to beat Ericsson.

  4. Kimi back at Sauber. Not a chance, LOL. No way he’d move/return to a latter-midfield team at the twilight of his career anymore.

    1. If it’s good enough for Alonso…

  5. LeClerc is going to Haas to replace a certain driver and FDerrari gives Sauber a new driver to help them :)

    1. Aarch where is my edit button!

    2. Or he and Kimi are doing a straight swap. At this point, either is possible.

  6. No chance. This site makes the silly season sillier.

    1. More sites are reporting this. I even read a few weeks ago on another site that Leclerc would be switched with Raikkonen at Spa.

    2. Pedro Andrade
      23rd July 2018, 18:23

      Why? This seems pretty sensible. If Leclerc does go to Ferrari (which is a good possibility), then it’s only natural that Ferrari want to put another of their young drivers in Sauber.

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