Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo, Istanbul Park, 2021

Alfa Romeo fail to score again as Giovinazzi ignores order to let Raikkonen past

2021 Turkish Grand Prix

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Alfa Romeo left a grand prix empty-handed for the 12th time this year on Sunday. But it could have turned out differently had Antonio Giovinazzi followed his team’s instructions.

Giovinazzi crossed the finishing line less than a second behind the final points scorer, Esteban Ocon, who struggled to the flag in his Alpine after deciding not to change his tyres.

But several laps earlier Giovinazzi had ignored an instruction to let his team mate pass him. Raikkonen lapped much more quickly before getting stuck behind Giovinazzi, and would have stood a better chance of catching and passing Ocon before the finish.

The 2007 world champion changed to a fresh set of intermediate tyres three laps before Giovinazzi and was flying in the second stint, lapping quicker than race leader Valtteri Bottas at times. Raikkonen was catching his team mate at up to two seconds per lap as they ran in 12th and 13th places.

Giovinazzi was given a “reference” lap time of 1’33.5 but was running in the 1’35s. At one point his race engineer Jorn Becker told him he was “losing everywhere in braking”.

On lap 50 Raikkonen lowered his lap time to a 1’32.5, a massive 2.8 seconds quicker than Giovinazzi. Alfa Romeo made the call to swap their drivers, which was communicated to Giovinazzi twice.

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“Swap position with Kimi behind into turn one, he’s much quicker now,” said Becker. Giovinazzi kept his position, but told the team he would increase his pace. “Turn eight is better for the rear so I will push now,” he said.

The team gave him a new reference lap time of 1’32.5, and though Giovinazzi did improve his pace, he only got down to a 1’33.1. Meanwhile Raikkonen, who had been told “we will swap position at turn one”, could only wait behind his team mate.

The pair were catching two cars ahead: Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo, who was also struggling with his tyres. Both Alfa Romeo drivers passed the McLaren on lap 55, and began their final lap five seconds behind Ocon.

“Ahead of Antonio is Ocon, Ocon is P10,” Raikkonen’s engineer Julian Simon-Chautemps advised him. “Yeah maybe we should have thought about it a bit earlier, we could catch him,” Raikkonen replied.

Giovinazzi almost caught Ocon, but still came out of the final corner too late to pass the Alpine, crossing the finishing line seven-tenths of a second behind. Raikkonen had been on his tail until turn 12 on the final lap, when he ran wide, then had to let Max Verstappen by to lap him.

“Antonio was told,” Raikkonen heard on his radio after crossing the line.

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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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13 comments on “Alfa Romeo fail to score again as Giovinazzi ignores order to let Raikkonen past”

  1. Perhaps Gio ignored the unheard team order call because he already knows he’s out after this season.

    1. Yep; probably listening to the Williams or Haas teams already for orders during the race.

  2. To my knowledge Antonio doesn’t have a contract for next year, and that his seat hasn’t been contracted to anyone else. My guess is an announcement will be made soon and the seat won’t be going to Antonio.

    1. @drycrust Yes, & him getting ousted has been becoming more & more likely over time.
      Of course, no official confirmation yet, but getting replaced by another driver seems inevitable.

  3. Yes, I guess he either already lost the seat or this won’t help him, it’s hard to get points as alfa, so this was a wasted chance.

  4. This is good because we usually only hear about team orders in winning teams.
    And not long, in Monza, Alfa instructed Kubica to let Giovinazzi go by.
    It’s a shame, there should have been team work here to get points, but of course this seems to be the end of the road for Giovinazzi. You either must be incredibly good or have a huge money load to stay in F1; there is no Zakspeed nor Osella just to keep going.

  5. Pretty shortsighted by Gio. I get it, he’s trying to keep his seat (if it isn’t already gone). Defying orders and likely costing your team points is no way to convince other teams you’re worth their time, or for Alfa to keep him on as a reserve.

  6. Very short sighted from GIO. Only opportunity for a point and he blew it. I never rated the guy – constantly beaten on Sunday by a retiring team mate. Perhaps thats all he could think about -getting ahead of Kimi for a change before he retires. Anyway I think Alfa would be mad to keep him. He’s improved alot, but like so many new guys that drop out of F1,he just makes the wrong decisions in a GP (particularly first few laps) and ends up crashing out.

    Reply moderated
    1. Giuliano Sadar
      12th October 2021, 19:17

      Sorry our analysis very poor and from a point of view far away. Many examples during the year: Alfa Sauber penalized Giovi, during pit stops and elsewhere. Alfa should be crazy to keep on him just because Zhou has China back. So where is the technical matter of your analysis? Do you really think Zhou better than Antonio?

  7. Antonio didn’t do himself any favors and costing your team a point isn’t going to help him keep his seat.

    1. Giuliano Sadar
      12th October 2021, 19:18

      Nothing could change his destiny. He acted well.

  8. Downgrade. Total downgrade. Look how far down they fell since 2019…

  9. From the great prognosticator of all things, Monty Python, “The end is nigh.”

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