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Antonio Giovinazzi

Ex Ferrari boss wants Giovinazzi to replace Raikkonen

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Antonio Giovinazzi has put himself in pole position for a Ferrari race seat.

That is the view of the great Maranello marque’s former boss Cesare Fiorio, after Italian Giovinazzi made his surprise race debut for the Ferrari customer Sauber in Melbourne.

“What Antonio did in Melbourne was outstanding, particularly as he was woken up on Saturday morning to replace the Sauber driver (Pascal Wehrlein),” Fiorio exclaimed on Italian Radio Anch’io lo Sport (Rai).

Giovinazzi finished second in last year’s GP2 championship and is now Ferrari’s new reserve driver.

“I have followed him for 4-5 years and he is definitely the best talent we (Italy) have and is ready for formula one. Ferrari did well to put him under contract and I hope they will give him a chance.”

Fiorio said Giovinazzi, 23, is an obvious candidate to replace Kimi Raikkonen for 2018.

“His (Raikkonen’s) last season with Alonso and the first with Vettel were embarrassing, although he recovered last year with Vettel.

“But by the end of the season, he starts to be a driver at 38, 39 years old and then I think it’s time to conclude his adventure at Ferrari,” he added.

Finally, Fiorio hailed Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel’s opening race of the 2017 season in Melbourne.

Referring to German Vettel in 2016, he said: “Last year was the result of anxiety — he did a very bad season. So it was important for Vettel to let everyone know he is a four time world champion.

“And Ferrari also had to show Mercedes that this year they will put them in great difficulty.

“It was said that without British engineering you cannot go anywhere, but instead (Sergio) Marchionne’s team of young engineers was the winning choice.

“Now comes the hard part,” added Fiorio, who ran Ferrari at the end of the 90s. “With the new rules, they must add a tenth at each grand prix, so two seconds by the end of the season.

“If Ferrari can do this they will remain competitive, if not they will stay where they were before. It will take a great effort in the area of aerodynamics,” he said.

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