Alfa Romeo F1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi has been awarded this year’s Bandini Trophy, giving him the dubious honour of driving an F1 car on Italian public roads.
The annual award is given in recognition of a significant improvement over the previous season’s racing and chosen by a jury of 12, including the founder of the Minardi F1 team, Giancarlo Minardi. It was established in 1992 in memory of Italian racing driver Lorenzo Bandini, who died in a Ferrari at the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix, and has been awarded to drivers, teams and the son of Enzo Ferrari, Piero, in its 25-year history.
As the first Italian to race in F1 since 2011, it is perhaps no surprise that Giovinazzi has won this most Italian of racing honours despite a shaky start to his debut season.
The award will be presented in Bandini’s hometown of Brisighella, but in order to get there Giovinazzi will drive an F1 car from the city centre of Faenza 14km away on a route through the rolling countryside of the Emilia-Romagna region.
Alfa Romeo expects 15,000 fans to line the route, which is supposed to be closed to local traffic but last year featured a number of moving obstacles for the 2018 winner Valtteri Bottas at the wheel of a Mercedes F1 car. On arrival in Brisighella, the Alfa Romeo F1 car will be put on display for the locals to gawp at while the prize giving — a drawn-out affair lasting several hours — takes place in a nearby piazza.
Alongside Giovinazzi, a number of Alfa Romeo team members will also receive awards, including technical director, Simone Resta, head of track engineering, Xevi Pujolar and head of aerodynamics, Jan Monchaux.