Antonio Giovinazzi to focus on Ferrari F1 reserve role in 2017

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Antonio Giovinazzi has confirmed that he will not commit to a full race program in 2017, instead preferring to focus on his reserve driver duties with Ferrari in Formula 1.

Giovinazzi finished second in his debut GP2 season last year, losing out in the title race to Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly at the last round of the season.

The Italian’s efforts led to him joining Ferrari as its reserve driver ahead of the 2017 season, enjoying his first F1 test in a 2015-spec car at Fiorano over the winter.

Despite testing a GP2 car at the end of last year for Arden, Giovinazzi confirmed to reporters in Barcelona this week that he had no racing plans in 2017.

“No, not really. For now I am third driver, I will do a lot in the simulator,” Giovinazzi explained.

“I will follow the race weekend in F1, and then we’ll see what happens.

“It will be more tough than all the years I did in my career, to be in the paddock will be quite different, less adrenaline.

“But it’s F1, it’s quite a difficult car, especially with all the function in the steering wheel so the simulator is also really good to learn this thing and to be ready when they want to put me in a car.”

Giovinazzi got his first taste of current-year machinery earlier this week when he tested for Sauber, stepping in for the injured Pascal Wehrlein for two days of the collective F1 running.

“[It was a] really special day, first time in an F1 official test is a big thing for me. Last year I was in GP2, and to have this opportunity is great for me,” he said.

“I just need to work really hard and of course I need to say thanks to Ferrari for giving me this opportunity and to Sauber F1 Team. So it’s really special for me to be here and important as well. To be in the car is something really important for a driver.”