Antonio Giovinazzi, Kimi Raikkonen, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Official: Raikkonen and Giovinazzi confirmed for third year at Alfa Romeo

2021 F1 season

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Alfa Romeo has confirmed its current driver line-up of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi will remain with the team for a third season.

Raikkonen, who became the sport’s most experienced driver of all time earlier this year, will start his 19th season in Formula 1

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe in the team’s project and in what we feel we can achieve together,” said the 2007 world champion. “This is a team that values hard work over words and this fits well with my style. I am looking forward to next year and hopefully making some steps forward towards the front of the midfield with the team.”

Giovinazzi, who made his debut as a full-time Formula 1 driver at Alfa Romeo two years ago, said the team “has put a lot of faith in me and I have done my best to repay this confidence with hard work and commitment.

“We have achieved some good results and I feel I have done my part to make the team progress, but the road ahead is still long and there is much more we want to achieve together. There will be a lot of continuity between this season and the next one, so everything we work on between now and the end of the year will already count for next, and we are ready to give it all we have.”

With both seats at Alfa Romeo filled for the 2021 F1 season, Ferrari is expected to place Formula 2 championship leader Mick Schumacher at its other customer team, Haas, next year.

Alfa Romeo confirmed yesterday a one-year extension of its title sponsorship and overall branding deal with the Sauber Formula 1 team, which began in 2019. Team principal Frederic Vasseur said he was “very pleased” to have continuity in his driver line-up.

“Kimi is a driver who needs no introduction: his talent has been clear to everyone since 2001 and I still see the passion and motivation in him every time I see him at work. He can be trusted to deliver 100% of what the car can produce and he is a true leader for the people working around him.

“Antonio finished last year’s campaign strongly and he picked up where he left off and kept improving throughout 2020. From the track to the engineering briefings, Antonio has played a crucial role for our team and he has thoroughly deserved a new contract for 2021.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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42 comments on “Official: Raikkonen and Giovinazzi confirmed for third year at Alfa Romeo”

  1. How boring.

    1. As boring as a F1 week-end without practice !

      Back on topic, they say the team is like a family: strong words. Giovinazzi seems to be a calm, reflective guy just as Raikkonen. With Vasseur at the helm, they really are blessed.

  2. Most underwhelming announcement of the season

  3. Unsurprising after the recent reports, but still, maybe replacing Gio with one of the three FDA drivers in F2 wouldn’t be entirely unjustified, although the 2022 line up could be Gio and one of those three instead.

  4. I guess it’s Mazepin and Mick Schumacher at Haas then. What a shame! I would’ve liked to see Mick alongside Kimi at Alfa, as he could’ve learned a lot from him during his rookie season.
    Furthermore, it doesn’t look great for Ilott. He could win the F2-championship and still end up without a drive in F1 next season.

    1. That sums up my ideas about this anouncement as well @srga91.

    2. I keep hearing this about Kimi potentially being a mentor to Mick.

      Does that sound like Kimi to anyone? Really? No way that guy is going to take a driver under his wing and spend time explaining the finesse of driving and setting up a Formula One car. Maybe he’ll grunt a single yes or a no to a complicated question before going of to do his thing.

      1. @aiii
        Romain Grosjean recently said that Kimi being his teammate at Lotus was a great help and he learned a lot from him.
        If you think that Kimi is anything like he is portrayed by the media, then you don’t know anything about him. Kimi hates the media and that’s why he doesn’t like talking to them.

        1. @srga91 He must be an awful mentor then lol

      2. There is a lot of things that Mick could’ve learned from Kimi. For example, feedback to the engineers on how to setup the car. How to approach a race weekend regarding on what areas of the car that needs to be developed and the most important of all having access to Kimi’s data throughout the weekend so Mick can have a direct comparison. Romain Grosjean was asked a few years back on what it was like to have Raikkonen and Alonso as teammate and he said the most valuable thing he learned was how much emphasis both drivers had on race setup. All these things are very important mate. Remember, F1 is a very technical sport.

        1. I never argued that Mick can’t learn from Kimi or any other experienced driver by looking at how they do things, and looking at their data, etc.

          I said Kimi would never be Mick’s Mr. Miyagi.

          1. You mean like asking him to wax his car?

    3. José Lopes da Silva
      30th October 2020, 9:26

      Illot is battling the son of a GOAT and the son of a billionaire. What were we expecting? Since when winning F2/GP2 assures something? Where is Nicky de Vries?
      One has to impress as Charles Leclerc did to get a chance. F1 is becoming a feud for 5 or 6 top drivers and a bunch of pay drivers and Team Owners.

      1. are you saying pay drivers are a new thing in Formula 1? not at all…

        1. Jose Lopes da Silva
          30th October 2020, 13:24

          Team Owners are a new thing in Formula 1. Team Owners from the past, like Brabham, McLaren and Fittipaldi, started their own teams. Now they buy them.

      2. de Vries simply took too many years to win the title. He’d be slogging it around in the second tier for a number of years, similar to Palmer.

        1. Jose Lopes da Silva
          30th October 2020, 13:26

          If you win the F2 title you should at least get the chance, like Palmer did. I hope for Illot that he improves and impresses a lot next season.

          1. Ambrogio Isgro
            31st October 2020, 8:13

            Well, at the monent Mick Schumacher Is the leader in F2 and in the last races he seems to be the driver to beat. He improved a lot during the season, something similar to what he did in F3 against Ticktum.

  5. The only positive here is we get to see Kimi race for another year.

    1. Yes, even though it costs an arm and a leg with Sky’s Nowtv.

  6. I wish Formula One teams showed some more ambition. All these safe choices of maintaining mediocre performing drivers for years on end instead of trying a new quick driver from F2, it’s like the Ferrari B-teams especially are fine existing at the bottom of the midfield.

    Has Sauber forgotten how great Leclerc was for them? Sure, there’s a risk in having a rookie in your team, but worst case scenario here is that you have some non-finishes in between brilliant drives, rather than a Giovinazzi coming in anywhere between 14th and 17th on any given Sunday.

    1. José Lopes da Silva
      30th October 2020, 9:28

      I’m afraid none of the current F2 drivers impresses much as Leclerc did. Hence, they go for the sons of GOATs and of billionaires.
      Of course, if Formula 1 had 15 teams, there would be room for more.

      1. It’s also worth nothing that F2 field Leclerc raced with wasn’t the strongest. The only other notable drivers during that year were Albon and Latifi. Both those drivers needed another year or two to get ready in F1. While this year, F2 has a pretty competitive field. So much so, that it’s very likely we’ll see drivers like Schumacher, Tsunoda and Mazepin make it to F1 this year. We can also see Shwartzman, Luungard, and Zhou make it in a couple years time.

        1. Jose Lopes da Silva
          30th October 2020, 13:29

          Maybe the F2 is competitive because none of those drivers is sufficiently talented?
          If they can’t do much better than Mazepin, honestly they’re not very good.

        2. Agree that Leclerc’s F2 field wasn’t the greatest, but he did absolutely thrash them. 8 poles, 8 wins (7 after a dsq for worn skid blocks at Spa, started last in race 2 and came fifth) in 11 rounds, with one of those wins coming the weekend after his father died, and was p2 in race 2 the same weekend.

          That said he was in the Prema and Markelov was 2nd in the championship, albeit 70+ points behind.

  7. R.I.P. Callum Ilott’s career.

    1. Pretty much, yes. If he wins F2, he can’t stay there for another year. And even if he does, I can’t see Ferrari putting him at Haas over Mick Schumacher. The only chance I see for him, is to finish runner-up this season and get another shot at the title next season, so he can join F1 in 2022. Though I expect Švarcman to be the favourite in 2021.

  8. I am really surprised about that Keith.

    Listening to the team radios, Giovinazzi is the only driver on the grid who needs to be told which differential settings to be in. Everyone else – including drivers not-so-highly rated by popular opinion – do it themselves.

    Giovinazzi is not a rookie anymore. Yet, this indicates that he still behaves like one, despite now entering his third full season in Formula 1.

  9. Kimi looks the epitome of the ageing racing ace.
    Gio? Gondolier.

  10. Well that’s underwhelming. Well I guess you can’t have everything, given Haas has finally thrown their two underperforming drivers out.

  11. José Lopes da Silva
    30th October 2020, 9:33

    I’m quite happy for Kimi to reach the 20-year milestone like Schumacher did. The truth is that he still has what to takes to be among the top-20, so it’s good.

    Giovinazzi is not stellar, but neither is none of the current GP2 drivers (like Leclerc was). Giovinazzi has something very good: he is not there because his father was a famous F1 champion or because he bought the team. Maybe he is because he is Italian, but there are limits to meritocracy and I can accept the nationality filter.

    Apparently Mick Schumacher deserves praise because he starts slowly and gets better in the second season. Well, the same has happened with Giovinazzi. Let’s see what he can do in a third season.

  12. Good decision to sign Kimi, invaluable support for developing the car, great marketing value allover the world and guaranteed fair and hard racing another year. Bit surprised on Gio, but Ferrari must have its say and they get along well.

  13. Good decision I think. They need to improve the car, so stability is best for the moment. Actually I think both drivers have been good this year, Gio has been quick on occasion and was fantastic in Germany. Kimi has been up there whenever there’s been strange conditions, but the car hasn’t been quick enough to capitalise. I’m sure people will complain about the F2 drivers not getting a chance, but if we have Schumacher and Mazepin at Haas and Tsunoda at AT, then nobody can complain really. That’s a strong rookie intake.

  14. WHY
    i get Raikkonen… but Giovanazzi …

  15. I’m surprised to see Giovinazzi get so much leeway in the time he needs to improve. He’s not exactly trouncing Kimi, is he. I wonder why he is seen as a good future prospect?

  16. Most boring news indeed. RAI ok if he stayed for Mick Schumacher, otherwise, I would have preferred Perez or Hulkenberg, these guys are hungry to push and win. Of course, one missing element, we don’t know if these two had any interest/desire to rejoin Sauber outfit. GIO has not demonstrated that he is a rising star, therefore its only right that someone else would take his seat and given a chance to prove themselves. However, I understand AR is Italian, an Italian driver is great for marketing (never mind racing on Sunday). Most pressing issue is the engine, AR/Sauber is stuck with Ferrari and next year……we ll likely be the same soup!

    1. Ambrogio Isgro
      31st October 2020, 8:25

      In what world Hulk and Perez are better than Kimi? I like both, but Hulk failed to score podium several times, Perez failed in McLaren and made stupid mistakes during the period with Con as teammate. Raikkonen was a world champion, Is still fast during the races, is wise enough to avoid disasters and can do things that the others could just dream about.
      If Ferrari not consider anyone else of his young drivers better than Giovinazzi, probably they are not ready for F1.

  17. Given Ferrari have Ilott, Shwartzman and Schumacher I’m kinda surprised at this – Schumacher & Ilott certainly are ready to go up to F1. Keeping Kimi is good – he’s been great, but at the same time there are other drivers available like Perez & Hulkenberg that could fulfill what he’s doing and probably do it a little better.

    Giovinazzi though, I just don’t get why they’d keep him. He’s been underwhelming since he’s been in F1 and any of the three rookies Ferrari have available would have been a stronger choice.

    1. Maybe it has something to do with sponsorship money. Given that Alfa Romeo is nothing more than a title sponsor for the team (Sauber Engineering still build the car), I assume they are demanding an Italian driver (as long as he’s not performing extremely badly). Other than that I can’t come up with a different reason, why they would keep him.

  18. Very good news for Formula 1 lovers.
    Kimi is one of the best drivers who have raced in the last 20 years and possibly one of the most honest intellectually and sportily.
    On the other hand, the very young Giovinazz has shown, despite racing in one of the slowest cars on the grid, that he has the necessary quality to remain among the 20 drivers of the grid.
    His performances improve race by race and without dazzling they show that his future is very good.
    It is already being very competitive with Kimi, which is inescapable proof of its quality. Kimi is the driver who has race the most races in the history of the category, he has a world championship and if it were not for McLaren’s fault he would have at least 2 other championships. This marks the quality of Giovinazzi, which, as has always happened, has all the English press against it, which praises other riders who have done and demonstrated much less than what Giovinazzi achieved in his first years in the category.

    1. @jorge-lardone If thats a shot at the likes of George Russel… He would absoloute school Kimi. The fact Giovanazzi goes life and death with him says it all. Kimi is shot to bits in raw speed, he has some good race craft still. I can guarantee though the car they are in with Leclerc at the wheel Alfa would not be fighting Williams and Haas they would be clear.

  19. Well umm…

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