A Ferrari Formula 1 seat in 2021 came too soon for Antonio Giovinazzi, according to team boss Mattia Binotto.

Following the shock news of Sebastian Vettel’s departure from Ferrari at the end of the year after the two sides failed to agree new contract terms, the Italian squad moved swiftly to sign Carlos Sainz on a two-year deal.

Giovinazzi replaced the Ferrari-bound Charles Leclerc to make his full-time F1 debut for Alfa Romeo in 2019 and finished 17th in the championship, managing 14 points across 21 races with a best result of fifth place in Brazil.

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The Italian, who has been affiliated with Ferrari since 2017 off the back of a successful GP2 campaign, was ultimately overlooked for the Ferrari seat, although Binotto insists he remains part of its plans.

“Antonio is a boy whom I respect a lot,” Binotto said during an interview with Sky Sport Italia.

“Last year he made his first season in Formula 1, switching to Ferrari after a year I think it requires too much responsibility.

“He has to keep his shoulders [high], we count on his growth and we will help him. He is part of our plans, but he still has to experience [more] in F1.”

Giovinazzi will contest his sophomore F1 season alongside Kimi Raikkonen at Alfa Romeo in 2020, which marks the final year of Raikkonen’s contract at the Swiss outfit.

Giovinazzi's deal also runs out at the end of 2020 and he came under pressure to retain his seat for the upcoming campaign before a turnaround in form. 

Five of Ferrari’s junior drivers are set to compete in Formula 2 this year. Mick Schumacher, Callum Ilott and Giuliano Alesi will be joined by reigning Formula 3 champion Robert Shwartzman and Marcus Armstrong - who finished runner-up in F3 - on the F2 grid.