Harry Potter, pasta, and his best friends on the F1 grid – Getting to know Antonio Giovinazzi
For six long years Italy had to go without a driver to call its own on the Formula 1 grid, until Antonio Giovinazzi ended that run when he joined Alfa Romeo with a full time seat in 2019, after standing in for Pascal Wehrlein in two races in 2017. Now in his second full season with the team, Antonio gets to enjoy three home races – Monza, Mugello and now Imola – and as we get to know him better we find out that this track is actually closest to where he now calls home…
This feature is from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix race programme, which you can download for free.
Where were you born?
I was born in Martina Franca, which is a small town in the south of Italy, nearly 800km from Imola!
Where do you live?
Now I live in Monte Carlo, Monaco
The best thing about racing:
It’s quite a simple answer – just racing with the best drivers in the world, plus driving the best cars in the world!
The worst thing about the lifestyle:
I think being far away from family and friends. Especially in these unfortunate Covid times, it has meant a lot of time away from everyone this year. I am very close to my family, so that’s definitely one of the difficult sacrifices you make.
On days off I like to…
Haha, with all the traveling that we do, for sure I would love to just have one day off on my sofa and in bed!
Have you got any best friends on the grid?
There’s many of them, and the good friends for me are the ones I raced with before Formula 1 in the junior categories. One of them for sure is Pierre Gasly who was my team-mate in Formula 2. But I would say I’m also good friends with Kimi Raikkonen who is my team mate now. I also raced with Charles Leclerc and some other guys, but these are my main friends.
If you cook, what is your signature dish?
I would go for pasta al forno, it’s a traditional pasta and one of the best dishes I ever cook. Without being boastful, I have to say that I’m really good at cooking it. At least, I’m good now because before I didn’t know how to cook. But during quarantine when I was by myself at home I started to cook and pasta al forno was one of my masters! It’s not a complicated plate but you have to measure the perfect time that the pasta is in the oven; you have to be careful and make sure it’s not too short or too long. I realised then I was quite good at cooking!
So, here’s my recipe… You need pasta, tomato sauce, some ham and then you need to cook the pasta for half of the time it says you need to – so if it says 10 minutes, you cook it for five! – and then put it all in the oven. Of course at the end when you cook everything you put a lot of mozzarella on top to make everything better! Then turn the oven up to 180 degrees (Celsius) for about 25 minutes. Perfect!
If not a racer what would you be?
I would like to be an athlete, maybe a cyclist. I like cycling so maybe that, or a tennis player. Can you see a theme?! It would definitely still be in sport!
Favourite lesson at school:
(Laughs) Next question!
Best place you have travelled to:
I would have to say Melbourne. I like it there, the flight is really long but in the end you get to a great place with great people. It’s such a different country and the track is really nice when we go there to race, plus the food is really good so I like most of it!
Where would you like to visit:
I travel a lot and I think I get to see a lot of the world but I would like to explore New Zealand one day. Just because it’s one of the places I’ve never been that is so far away! Plus I had a friend from Formula 3 who lives there – Tom Blomqvist, another racing driver! – and he always told me about how nice New Zealand was and all the different things you can do. So I’m just curious about it.
Vasco Rossi, the Italian singer-songwriter and poet.
Motor racing hero:
In Formula 1 I would say Michael Schumacher, but as an overall motorsport hero I would say another ‘Rossi’, Valentino Rossi!
Most treasured possession:
That’s a tough one. I have a bracelet that I always wear, and I’ve worn it since I was 10 years old. It was given to me by my great grandmother on my mum’s side, so I think I would have to choose that.