Giovinazzi ignoring position swap order was “not ideal”, admit team

2021 Turkish Grand Prix

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Alfa Romeo’s head of track engineering Xevi Pujolar says he did not understand why Antonio Giovinazzi refused to let his team mate past when told to.

Giovinazzi ignored two instructions to let Kimi Raikkonen pass him during the latter stages of Sunday’s race. Raikkonen was significantly quicker in the laps before he caught his team mate.

“We asked to swap positions but then at this point also Antonio was starting to pick up the pace and he himself decided that he wanted to stay ahead,” Pujolar explained. “And maybe that situation, this couple of laps, potentially we could have been faster as a team.”

Both drivers closed on Esteban Ocon, who was struggling on badly-worn tyres, on the final lap. Giovinazzi fell short of passing the Alpine for the final point by seven tenths of a second. “We needed one more lap to catch Ocon,” said Pujolar.

“For sure for the team that was not the not ideal,” he added.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo, Istanbul Park, 2021
Report: Alfa Romeo fail to score again as Giovinazzi ignores order to let Raikkonen past
Giovinazzi was unable to match’s Raikkonen pace before he was caught. If he had let his team mate past, Alfa Romeo would likely have stood a better chance of scoring a point.

Pujolar pointed out they would have swapped their drivers’ positions back again if the chance had arisen. “I did not understand well why we could not swap at this point because also when we have got both cars then we can change it back depending on the situation,” he said.

Alfa Romeo are ninth in the championship, seven points ahead of last place and 16 behind Williams. “For us it’s important to achieve the points,” said Pujolar, who pointed out the team only made the call to swap their drivers when it became clear how the race was going to pan out as the track dried.

“At the beginning of the race we didn’t really focus so much on who is stronger, more or less both cars were there. We were managing, we didn’t know how long the conditions would remain like this, so we didn’t want to put too much stress or swapping positions and letting Kimi push hard and run out of tyres too quickly.

“So on that stage, we wanted to have a bit of space because nobody knew if it will be 20 laps, 30 laps or the whole race in inter[mediate] condition. But at the end of the race, it was a different story. At that point, yes, we wanted to swap position.”

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2021 Turkish Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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5 comments on “Giovinazzi ignoring position swap order was “not ideal”, admit team”

  1. End for Gio, I think he already got his yet unannounced notice.

    1. @TurboBT I don’t count out him already knowing his fate pre-Turkish GP, hence, why he ignored the swap call.

  2. Giovinazzi was unable to match Raikkonen’s pace before he was caught – literally summing up his career and why he’s about to be bounced out of F1 in one sentence.

  3. It is a partial story, Sauber wanted Kimi to pass in front of Giovinazzi. GIO had a huge gap on kimi, but he was told his pace was good until Kimi get closer and then he was asked to swap position. A particularly unfair behaviour for a driver fighting for his seat and he well did to dismiss the request. Btw. They neither gave proper indo to Giovinazzi in order to pass Ocon in the last lap.

  4. The irony is that if AG had let KR by early enough, then Ocon would have had to fight Kimi which would bring them both back to AG.
    At that point, with more stress on his tyres, Ocon would have wound up 12th, Kimi 10th and AG 11th, where he finished anyway. Likely the term “finished” should be bold with flashing highlights.
    When you look at what Alex Albon has achieved over the last 10 months, it should serve as an example of what to do and how to do it. Hats-off to the Thai.

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