GP2 Series runner-up Antonio Giovinazzi will join Ferrari in a reserve and test driver role next season, according to Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne.
The Italian was a revelation of the 2016 season after almost snatching the GP2 Series title win in his rookie season, only to be defeated by Prema Racing team-mate Pierre Gasly in a final round showdown.
Nevertheless, the Italian – who had risen through the ranks without any affiliation to an existing F1 team – has finally landed himself an opportunity with an apparent deal to join Ferrari. The new relationship was reportedly confirmed by Marchionne during a dinner with media.
“We do not take Giovinazzi to emulate the example of Max Verstappen, who is a unique case,” he said. “We take him because he is a very good driver and Ferrari need young people ready to perform.”
Giovinazzi's signing will likely raise speculation that Ferrari has found the youngster it wants to groom for a seat in the future, as it did with Felipe Massa, though it has a history of placing drivers with Ferrari-powered customer teams before promoting to a full factory drive.
There has been no Italian driver on the F1 grid since Jarno Trulli and Vitantonio Liuzzi exited the sport at the end of the 2012 season.
There has been no full-time Italian race driver at Ferrari since Ivan Capelli in 1992, though Giancarlo Fisichella, Luca Badoer and Nicola Larini have started a handful of races for the Scuderia
in that time.
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