Antonio Giovinazzi was back in a Formula 1 car for today’s first practice session for the only the second time since his pair of outings for Sauber F1 Team to kick off the year, deputizing for Pascal Wehrlein.
The Italian had his first of seven outings with Haas F1 Team at Silverstone, in for Kevin Magnussen. He completed 23 laps, running only on Pirelli’s soft tire compound, and ended the session just over four tenths off Romain Grosjean’s pace. His best time of 1:32.031 was ahead 16th, good to beat both Renaults and both Saubers.
Giovinazzi has plenty of track experience at Silverstone but this offered him his first test since doing so with Scuderia Ferrari in April, after the Bahrain Grand Prix. That test followed the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix which kicked off the year.
“First of all, I want to say thank you to Scuderia Ferrari for this opportunity. It was a really good session. My last test was Bahrain with Ferrari a long time ago, so to be back in a car was really nice,” he said.
“It was a session to just get as many laps as we could. We didn’t make any mistakes, we tried quite a few things, and I was confident in the car. I was really happy with our performance. It’s nice to see how different teams work. I’m looking forward to my remaining six FP1 performances with Haas F1 Team. It’s a fantastic team, so I’m really happy to join them and I’ll do my best.”
Giovinazzi said this was a tougher place to debut with Haas given the number of high-speed corners, particularly with the increased cornering speed that has come with the new generation of 2017 cars.
“I started this FP1 session at one of the hardest tracks with a lot of downforce and a lot of fast corners. I think to be four-tenths from Romain is strong. He, of course, has a lot of experience and laps to start.
“I can’t wait to jump in the car again in Hungary. It will also be hard as it’s a difficult track, but I’ve already got some confidence from the car so it’ll be a little easier.”
Team principal Guenther Steiner said Giovinazzi was fine in his first run-out for the team. Haas has run Charles Leclerc, a fellow young Ferrari driver, in FP1 sessions in 2016 but this marked the first time Haas has run a third driver this year.
“A very workmanlike day. Antonio drove one of the cars in FP1 and he did a good job,” he said. “We had some issues on the first outings with both cars – some electronic issues – which we sorted and were okay with on the second set of tires. The whole day was relatively uneventful.”