Schumacher and Giovinazzi to fill Ferrari reserve role in 2022
Mick Schumacher could find himself behind the wheel of a Ferrari Formula 1 car in 2022 as team principal Mattia Binotto revealed that racing driver Haas will share the reserve role with fellow Ferrari Driver Academy driver Antonio Giovinazzi …
Giovinazzi found himself without training after Alfa Romeo chose to replace him with Zhou Guanyu for next season, after three campaigns with the team, and subsequently announced that he would compete full time in Formula E. ‘next year.
READ MORE: Alfa Romeo confirms Giovinazzi will leave team at end of season as Italian announces change to Formula E
However, he was keen to keep one foothold in F1 with a view to trying to find a racing seat in 2023 – and will do so by extending his relationship with Ferrari for a fifth year.
Speaking to selected media at Ferrari’s annual Christmas event, team principal Binotto said Giovinazzi will compete in 12 races and fill the reserve role, with Schumacher – who will be competing in his second season with Haas – available to replace the other 11.
If Ferrari brought in Schumacher, Haas would lead his reserve Pietro Fittipaldi alongside Nikita Mazepin. Binotto added that Giovinazzi will be available to replace Ferrari Haas and Alfa Romeo customers if necessary.
Antonio Giovinazzi: “I don’t think this will be my last race in F1”
Explaining the rationale behind giving Schumacher, son of seven-time world champion Michael, the reserve role, Binotto said: “He’s a Ferrari driver, we must not forget him. He was part of our Ferrari Driver Academy. The reason we have the Ferrari Driver Academy is to identify the next Ferrari driver for the future.
“By being a part, if you do well, you will undoubtedly have opportunities. He’s already had a season in F1, which is important. Mick has done well the season, he improved not only in terms of consistency, but also in terms of speed.
READ MORE: Why Alfa Romeo Picked Zhou, How The Deal Done – And Who Else Vied For The Seat
“If you look at the last few races he was a lot closer to the cars in front, and Haas didn’t develop the car at all. The fact that he was closer proved that he had a good improvement in speed itself.
“He will drive the 2022 cars next year, they will be very different from the current one in terms of driving style. It will be important to have a driver who knows these cars in reserve.
“I can always count on Antonio because he is a good driver, he has proven that he is a good driver. Antonio will have a full simulator program, in terms of a 2022 Riding Style upgrade. “
I think it’s important for him to continue being part of our F1 program as a reserve, to continue doing activities in the simulator and to keep him up to date with 2022 cars.
Mattia Binotto on Antonio Giovinazzi
Schumacher will continue to be supported by Ferrari engineers in 2022, with Ferrari also making its simulator available – which has been significantly improved.
Giovinazzi has said he is keen to return to F1 and Binotto believes continuing with Ferrari will be helpful in achieving that ambition, especially as the formula changes drastically next year.
“With Antonio there can arguably be more opportunities for him to find a seat [in 2023], “he said.” There are 11 seats I think will be free in 2023. I’m not saying they will all be free, but if I look at the drivers’ contracts, 11 expire by the end of 2022 including Carlos – so that’s the situation.
“That’s why I think it’s important for him to continue being part of our F1 program as a reserve, to continue doing activities in the simulator and to keep him up to date with 2022 cars.”