Antonio Giovinazzi has experienced his opening Formula E test – and it would be fair to say he did not take to it like a duck to water.
The Italian driver wasted no time in lining up a Formula E race seat for next year, announcing he was joining the Dragon Penske team on the same day Alfa Romeo confirmed he was leaving them after three F1 seasons.
Alfa Romeo have dispensed with the 27-year-old’s services in order to bring in Chinese youngster Guanyu Zhou, who offers more in the way of sponsorship opportunities, alongside fellow new recruit Valtteri Bottas.
In the days leading up to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Giovinazzi familiarised himself with a Formula E car in the pre-season test at Valencia and it did not go exactly swimmingly.
“It’s a completely different category,” said Giovinazzi, quoted by Motorsport.com. “I’ve driven so many cars – GT cars, LMP2, F1 – and then go into this car, everything feels so different.
“Yesterday I was really sort of confused and had a lot of things to learn. But the main issue for me is the braking, because in F1 everybody can really attack so much on the braking because you have so much downforce as well.
“And here, you cannot. So I’m struggling with this – but I remember when I drove in 2018 the first car, the Gen 1, it was the same.”
After this week’s testing, of which he will miss some due to having to travel to Jeddah, Giovinazzi plans to spend time in the simulator before the start of the next Formula E season, also in Saudi Arabia at Riyadh, in late January.
“Yesterday afternoon I lost some laps, it was not ideal,” he said. “Same this morning, and I miss also the last day on Thursday because I need to go to Saudi.
“So it’s not great like this, but it will be like this and I will focus more on the sim to set up myself on this car. Before race one, I will not have much miles before that.
“In the first race, I will try to do my best and do a lot of sim back at the factory in December and January.
“It will be for sure a difficult part of the season, but we will work really hard and try to be in good shape straight away, as soon as possible.
“I still have to race in F1 for another two weeks, [after that] we have the Christmas time, but after Christmas I want to go straight to the factory and try to do a lot of miles in the sim, just also to go back through the procedure and everything.
“It’s not much time. Of course, you want always more but it will be like this.”
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