Antonio Giovinazzi's trademark smile was as evident as ever as he sat down to speak with RacingNews365.com over the weekend of the Rome E-Prix.
The Italian driver's dismal start to his Formula E career continued over the double-header in the Italian capital, with Giovinazzi shoring up the rear of the field throughout both events.
Finishing the first race in 19th, he picked up two separate time penalties – one being a significant 30-second penalty for failing to slow for yellow flags. However, even without that, he would have only finished 18th.
He then retired from the second race, having qualified 21st of the 22 drivers in the field.
While Giovinazzi failed to set the world alight when racing in Formula 1 across three seasons with Alfa Romeo, he also showed he had plenty of speed on occasion, and there was little reason to doubt his credentials entering the all-electric series.
While Dragon Penske aren't a front-running team in Formula E, Giovinazzi's struggles appear to be far in excess of what you'd expect from a solid performer in F1. So what exactly is the issue?
Giovinazzi on switching Formula 1 for Formula E
"I'm having a hard time here in Formula E," Giovinazzi told RacingNews365.com in an exclusive interview.
"I can't drive the car the way I want to at all yet, and that is partly because I have driven in F1 in recent years.
"F1 cars drive completely different from these Formula E cars and, because of that, it doesn't go the way I would like.
"There have been no races in the past two months and, during a race weekend, you get very little time to get used to the car.
"Here, you have to perform immediately and that is difficult if you have little experience with the car. I just don't get into my rhythm."
While Giovinazzi has spent time in the simulator to try to get to grips with the unique nature of the Formula E car, he revealed that there's little similarity between the virtual version and the real thing.
"I have, of course, spent quite a few hours in the simulator in the past while, but that may do more harm than good!" he commented.
"The difference between reality and the simulator is much too great. Actually, nothing is the same in the simulator compared to the real thing racing in a Formula E car."
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Giovinazzi watching Alfa Romeo with some envy
Giovinazzi explained that it's going to take some time for him to find his feet in the series, and revealed the team are doing everything they can to help him do so.
"It will take a while before I find my rhythm in Formula E, something that is not up to the team," he said.
"They really do everything they can to help me, but in the end, I have to get used to this car myself and that remains difficult.
"Besides that, you only get few minutes in the practice sessions, [so] you can't afford to make mistakes.
"Then, [if you hit the] wall, because we only race on street circuits, that means mistakes are immediately punished."
Added to his woes is the fact that Alfa Romeo appear to have built a reasonably competitive Formula 1 machine for 2022, meaning he's having to watch on as Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou try to unlock more performance from the C42.
Summing up the situation, he sighed: "That's it. [That's] life."
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