Formula 1’s many links with Italy have not alleviated the exorbitant costs of entry for youngsters, says Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi.
Despite being a country with a legendary passion for motorsport, two F1 teams (AlphaTauri and Ferrari), and two F2/F3 teams (Prema and Trident), Italian representation on the grid has become increasingly sparse in recent years.
Currently there is only one driver each in F1 and F2, and three in F3, which is a disheartening showing considering there have been 98 Italian F1 drivers in the sport’s history, including 15 race winners.
Giovinazzi, their sole representative in the top flight, was asked by RacingNews365 to assess what brought-about the current dearth in talent.
“The basis is very important in motorsport and that basis starts with money,” he explained. “You have to have a lot of money to get far in motorsport. For example, I had to get a lot of money myself a number of times in order to be able to end up in Formula 1.
“However, finding that money is not possible for everyone, especially because it costs a lot to have a child race at an early age.”
At the same time, motorcycle racing continues to flourish with six Italians on the MotoGP grid, including the legendary Valentino Rossi, and Giovinazzi concedes that Rossi’s success might have more bambini looking to bikes rather than cars.
“Valentino has a completely different name in motorsport than me or other Italians in Formula 1,” he admitted.
Nevertheless, Giovinazzi remains hopeful more of his compatriots can make their names on four wheels, but as a product of Ferrari’s driver academy himself, fears that such backing had become a necessity rather than an option in order to advance through the ranks.
“Above all, we have to hope for the various academies of major teams that now include a number of Italian drivers. Hopefully they will be able to find their way to Formula 1 through those academies. Or through someone like Nicolas Todt, who is always trying to help young talent. Those kind of people are really needed to support the talents.”