‘Starting without fans safe for F1’
Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi has backed plans to begin the Formula 1 season without spectators.
Starting the 2020 campaign, which has had nine races called off so far, behind closed doors was just one of the options Ross Brawn confirmed was on the table during his appearance on the Sky F1 Vodcast last week.
Giovinazzi, the sole Italian on the grid and whose homeland has suffered the second most coronavirus deaths in the world, told Sky Sports : “For sure it will be really different – people coming to support us is an extra boost for every driver.
“But now, the main thing is to race in a safe mode and one [way] is to have no people at the track.
“Of course they will support us on the sofa, but I think [if we are] to start soon, to start without people is a safe way to race.” Giovinazzi on virtual racing, & facing Kimi
Giovinazzi has lived in virtual isolation in his Monaco apartment since his return from Melbourne, separated from his family and girlfriend in Italy.He’s cooked, cleaned and done his own laundry and only worked with his fitness conditioner via video conference.
Another way the Italian has filled his time is by competing in the Virtual GP series.He and a number of other drivers involved in Grands Prix meet online daily for practice, and Giovinazzi’s debut in the series saw him finish fifth, with Charles Leclerc coming out on top.
“It was really nice and we did this for the fans, for the people at home so they can see some action from Formula 1 drivers,” he said.”But it was really tough at the end of the race I was completely wet through! 0:48 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc wins the Vietnam Virtual Grand Prix taking place on Melbourne’s Albert Park, marking the second race of the 2020 Formula 1 Esports season Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc wins the Vietnam Virtual Grand Prix taking place on Melbourne’s Albert Park, marking the second race of the 2020 Formula 1 Esports season
“Without any feedback, you are just sitting there just driving with the steering wheel.
It was tough but a lot of fun – we can’t wait to race again in China.
“We [the drivers] have a channel and we race every afternoon just to have fun and to have a chat as well.We like to drive and we drive the simulator now, also to train a little bit mentally.”
Still waiting to start his second full season in F1, Giovinazzi is wary of the physical challenges that lie ahead with, potentially, a series of F1 triple headers following several months of inaction.
Giovinazzi said: “I think it will be completely difficult.When we come back to Barcelona after the winter break, after the first day your neck is completely destroyed.Now we will have more than two months maybe three months [off].
When we come back we will like you say [drive] three weeks in a row.It will be tough will but it will be the same for everyone.”
In 2020 Giovinazzi feels better equipped to fight on equal terms with his rivals, having debuted alongside Kimi Raikonnen, the grid’s oldest most experienced driver.
“It was not easy to start my career in F1 with a world champion driver,” he said.”Also after two years stopping [competition], I lost a little bit wheel to wheel in a race, so it was not easy to start with Kimi beside me in the race.Herbert, Herbert,
“If the car was [good enough] for P8 then he was P8 or P7 in terms of result.
I think I started to focus after a few races to think about how I could improve especially watching Kimi.In the summer I was watching to see why I was slower than Kimi in the race and I was able to improve myself in the second half of the season.
“Now I need to continue like this.
I have to treat it as an advantage to have Kimi as my team mate.” Also See: Brawn: F1 could start behind closed doors
As for any notion the famously monosyllabic Finn might deal a little easier with lockdown and social distancing, Giovinazzi has a different view.
The 26-year-old said: “Yeah, of course he is the Iceman he’s a cold guy, but away from the cameras he is a really funny guy, a good guy also to spend a dinner or a lunch with.
Before Melbourne we went to play tennis together it was a really fun moment – I really respect him as a driver and as a person.” Trending.