While world champion team mate Kimi Raikkonen has been grabbing the headlines for Alfa Romeo, Antonio Giovinazzi has been having a somewhat low-key rookie season so far – largely through no fault of his own.
Unfortunately that trend looks unlikely to change this weekend, with news that the Italian is set to be hit with a 10-place grid penalty in Baku thanks to the team replacing the Control Electronics (CE) element on his car’s Ferrari power unit.
Antonio so far couldn’t show his real potential, but that’s completely down to the team
Giovinazzi hit CE problems in Shanghai qualifying last time out - forcing a replacement there - and with Alfa moving to Ferrari's latest-spec unit this weekend, it means he is already on his third of the season – exceeding the two allowed under the Formula 1 regulations.
“I think it’s better [taking the penalty] here than [at the next round] in Barcelona – here something can happen during the race, a Safety Car or something,” said a philosophical Giovinazzi, who won twice in Baku in his GP2 days.
“I would love to do the same as I did in 2016. It was a really good race. I was last on the first lap and I won the race. It’s the kind of track where you can do this – of course it’s not easy in F1, but I would like at least to take some points after starting last.”
Giovinazzi has yet to score a point in 2019, while Raikkonen has secured 12. However, his team principal Fred Vasseur was keen to stress that good fortune has not been on his younger driver’s side.
“Antonio so far couldn’t show his real potential, but that’s completely down to the team,” said Vasseur. “Some technical issues and therefore missed track time meant that he could never get comfortable and get the best out of the car, but especially in Australia in Q1 he showed how fast he is.
"Everyone just needs to be a bit patient and I’m sure he’ll come around.”
Antonio Giovinazzi: Experience and speed can help limit grid penalty damage