Antonio Giovinazzi believes that his move to Ferrari in a reserve role and recent Formula 1 tests are "a small step" for growing Italian representation among drivers in the sport.

Despite hosting a grand prix every year since the formation of the world championship in 1950 and being home to F1's most famous team, Ferrari, Italy has produced very few drivers that have started a grand prix in recent times.

The last Italians to make a race start in F1 were Vitantonio Liuzzi and Jarno Trulli, both of whom entered the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix. The Italian national anthem has not been played for a victorious driver since Malaysia 2006 when Giancarlo Fisichella won for Renault.

While there has been a lack of Italians racing in F1 recently, Giovinazzi feels that his recent tests for Ferrari and Sauber - the latter in pre-season testing - are signs of progress.

"I think yeah, we miss Italian drivers. But this is already one small step," Giovinazzi said.

"Now I'm third driver, I'm here in the official F1 tests. It's a really good point. Then I just need to work really hard. Of course for every driver the target is to drive in F1.

"I know the situation is really difficult in Italy, but yeah, I will do everything to arrive in my target as soon as possible."

Giovinazzi was announced as Ferrari's new third driver in December after finishing as runner-up in his debut GP2 campaign in 2017.

The 23-year-old will not commit to a racing campaign this year, instead preferring to focus on his duties with Ferrari that will see him complete a lot of work in the team's F1 simulator.

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