Q: Antonio, what a difference a day makes: yesterday Ferrari’s reserve driver, today the race driver for Sauber. Can you tell us how this all came about?
Antonio Giovinazzi: Well, I received a text message this morning from Ferrari and my manager. Actually they informed me last night, but it was too late for me - I was already in bed - so I found out only this morning when I woke up. (laughs)
Q: What emotions were there?
AG: Ha, first thought was: somebody is making a joke with me. And then finally it dawned on me that this was all true. I made my way to the track immediately to speak with the engineers of my team. And being here is something that I still can hardly believe. It is a childhood dream that suddenly became reality!
Of course, I was a bit nervous because I didn’t know the track, so it was something of a shortcut for me from FP3 straight to qualifying. And I think I put in a good performance. I was just a few tenths off my team mate, so I am really happy how it went today.
Yes, tomorrow will be a tough day. Everybody says that this track is a bit peculiar and that everything can happen, so my target for tomorrow is to do a good start, to make no mistake in the race, and finish it. Of course, the dream extended would be to finish in the points - but, as I am somewhat living a dream right now, why not? (Laughs)
Q: You made an error in your final run – without it would you have equalled your team mate?
AG: I don’t know. I made a mistake in Turn 1, then I recovered in the middle sector and made again a little mistake in the last sector, so I am not sure if it would have worked. But, for sure, with every lap I pushed the limit further. Maybe I would have needed another session. But to be honest, I have to say that I already got more than what I had expected. I am really happy with my performance today.
Q: If you recap what has happened to your career since the end of November, how would you describe it?
AG: Well, the end of November was not so great as I lost the GP2 championship in the very last race. But then came the contract with Ferrari, and the next thing was the test with Sauber in Barcelona - and then suddenly the info that I would race tomorrow. What more can you ask?
Q: How important were those two days of testing for Sauber in Barcelona? Would you have been so confident taking over today without them?
AG: Those two days were really important. I knew about the car - that it is very different from anything I have driven before - and I started to get to know the team, the engineers. Yes, the track is different, the conditions are different and it is a race weekend, so it is a relief that I have done Barcelona.
Q: You are the first Italian racing in a Grand Prix in quite some time. How does that feel?
AG: I am really happy - and also for Italy to have somebody back in Formula One. I think it is really important also to have an Italian in this sport. Now I have to work hard to stay here.
Q: Will this race be a one-off, or will we see you more often in the Sauber cockpit?
AG: Pascal is the Sauber driver and I am the third driver of Ferrari - and, of course, if there is another chance I will grab it.
Q: There have been rumours that you could formalize your position with Sauber to become their third driver - is there anything to those rumours?
AG: I don’t know. This is up to Ferrari.
Q: How physically fit are you to drive this race? It was never the plan for you to be in the car this weekend…
AG: I kept my training regime the whole winter, so it was no problem for me to jump in the car in Barcelona nor here in Melbourne. I am prepared for tomorrow - and then let’s see tomorrow after the race if I was fit or not! (laughs)