Nervous anticipation: Giovinazzi’s DTM debut
At Moscow, he is being thrown in at the deep end: Antonio Giovinazzi will be taking on the first two DTM races of his career at Moscow Raceway. The 21-year-old Italian already made a good impression with the Audi RS 5 DTM in testing. Now, the current FIA Formula 3 European Championship points’ leader can show his skills in competitive conditions: he is replacing Timo Scheider, who was banned from racing for the weekend. “Actually, I was scheduled to drive the race taxi here,” Giovinazzi says. “The fact that I am bow in a race car, is simply great and a fantastic pleasure for me. I will do my utmost in trying to help Audi.” In second free practice on Saturday, the 21-year-old already made an impression. Having ended up second-to-last in the first session on Friday evening, Giovinazzi significantly improved to become eleventh on Saturday as the fourth-best Audi driver. A result that caught the attention, not in the least because he is driving the heaviest car in the field, just like his fellow Audi driver Mattias Ekström.
The young Italian has knowledge of the track near Moscow from his races in Formula 3 there last year. He also sees some parallels between the F3 car and the DTM machine: “In fact, the driving isn’t that much different. Of course, a DTM car has significantly more power. Especially in high-speed corners, the amount of downforce is incredible. Nevertheless, the DTM is a completely different affair compared to the DTM. I really need the help of my team-mates and I try to copy as many things as possible from them.” Giovinazzi’s expectations going into the weekend are accordingly modest: “Above all, I don’t want to make any mistakes and just do my utmost,” he says. “Of course, I am also quite nervous, but there are plenty of good people around me who support me and try to keep my stress level as low as possible.”
At Moscow, Giovinazzi is getting the chance to invest significantly into the future. The better the impression he leaves at the Raceway, the bigger his chances of securing a full-time DTM drive for next year. “That would be fantastic. The DTM is a fascinating series with drivers who are all at a very high level. First of all, I simply want to put in two good races here, and then I will focus again on trying to win the FIA Formula 3 European Championship title. Everything else will come in the future.”
After his considerable result in second free practice, the Italian can’t be ruled out to spark a surprise in the first-ever DTM qualifying of his career on Saturday from 13.00 hrs (12.00 hrs CET). With a good starting grid position, he would perhaps even be able to score points in the 40 minutes’ race from 16:30 hrs (15:30 hrs CET) – which would be a tremendous achievement for Giovinazzi.