Antonio Giovinazzi is among those drivers who worked their way up the junior ranks to cement their place in Formula 1.

Giovinazzi joined F1 back in 2017 where he managed to earn a backing from Ferrari after a meeting with then team boss Sergio Marchionne.

However, his debut came at the Australian Grand Prix with Sauber where he replaced an injured Pascal Wehrlein.

Giovinazzi’s father Vito reveals details about the situation.

What did Vito say?

Antonio Giovinazzi; Source: formula1.com

“He joined Ferrari at the end of 2016 after dealing with Sergio Marchionne,” Vito mentioned to La Gazzetta dello Sport while talking about his son’s F1 debut.

“At the start of the World Championship in Melbourne in 2017, then, Maurizio Arrivabene [former Ferrari team principal] told him that he would take to the track with Sauber as a replacement for Pascal Wehrlein, who had back problems.

“It also happened in the Shanghai race in China, but it didn’t go well.”

Australian GP really helped

The Australian Grand Prix was a boon for Giovinazzi as he scored a P12 finish on his debut.

This caught the attention of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff who offered his congratulations to the Italian driver.

Wolff had previously asked Giovinazzi to fill in as the third driver for Mercedes. But Antonio went along with Ferrari.

Vito reveals details on Wolff’s offer

Giovinazzi for Alfa Romeo; Source: formula1.com

“In Australia, my son finished 12th and it was a great result, so much so that even Toto Wolff congratulated us,” Vito revealed.

“Before signing with Ferrari, Toto himself called us to offer us a contract with his Mercedes team: Antonio was to be the third driver in Formula 1 and an official driver in the DTM.

“But he has a red heart and made the choice he felt was right.”

Giovinazzi not under the radar anymore

Giovinazzi has always maintained a low profile in F1 ever since he joined Alfa Romeo back in 2019. However, team boss Frederic Vasseur is well aware of the Italian’s performance.

Vasseur also goes on to claim that Giovinazzi could fill in as team leader after Kimi Raikkonen.

Vito agrees with this, stating that his son is a much more ‘mature’ driver as compared to before.

‘Still at 80% of his potential’

“I agree with him. The comparison now for Antonio is with himself, being a ready driver,” Vito said regarding Vasseur’s comments.

“In fact, I’ll say more: for me he is still at 80% of his potential. He can still grow a lot and in the meantime, he wants to overtake Kimi in the Drivers’ standings this year.

“If he keeps driving like this and if luck and strategy are on his side, I think he can do it. The qualifying at Imola, the wrong pit-stops in Bahrain and Barcelona, the traffic at Monte Carlo: he could have had 10 points in the Championship by now.”

Midfield drivers face a lot of pressure

Like most drivers in the midfield, Giovinazzi is under a lot of pressure to retain his seat.

His father clarified that staying in the game long-term is the current goal. He also hopes that his son would one day drive a title-worthy car, hopefully, Ferrari.

“To stay in F1 for many years,” said Vito about his son’s goals.

“He is very happy at Alfa Romeo now, but in his heart he dreams of driving a car that can fight for the Championship. Antonio always tells me that he would like to do it with Ferrari, but the door should not be closed to anyone.”

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