Raikkonen hopes Giovinazzi gets Formula 1 return after Alfa Romeo exit

2021 Qatar Grand Prix

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Kimi Raikkonen says his Alfa Romeo team mate Antonio Giovinazzi deserves a chance to return to the sport after he is replaced at the end of the season.

The pair are leaving the team at the end of the year. While Raikkonen heads into retirement, Giovinazzi learned on the Friday of the Brazilian Grand Prix he will be replaced by Guanyu Zhou.

Raikkonen said the news was “a shame” for his team mate. “He’s a very nice guy, we known each other for quite a while, since the Ferrari days.”

“Hopefully one day has another chance in Formula 1.” Raikkonen added. “There’s not that many cars and for sure there’s more people that tries to get in F1, but let’s hope so.”

Giovinazzi admitted learning of his departure was “not an easy day for me”. However he said he will leave “happy with myself”.

“During these last three years I improved myself all the time,” he explained. “For sure some things could be better, some things [were] good, but I’m happy with myself, so nothing that I can do more.

“Every time that [I was asked] about my future, I always say that was not in my hands and it was like this. So in the end, this is the decision, and now I’m focussed for the next step, that will be Formula E next year and I’m really excited about this.”

Giovinazzi will drive for Dragon Penske in the all-electric championship but said he would harbour fond memories of his time in F1 despite “a lot of ups and downs”.

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He said bounced back from a crash at Spa in 2019 to score points in his home race was one of his most special memories of his three full seasons with the team. “I had a lot of good races, a lot of bad races, but one of my favourites was in Monza in 2019,” he said.

“It was my first home grand prix in Formula 1 and I was coming from one of the most difficult race of my career in Spa. So it was not an easy one there but finishing P9 in front of my family, friends, was something special. So that one was my special race.”

Although he had no factory team backing during his junior career, when he challenged Pierre Gasly for the 2016 GP2 title, Giovinazzi was picked up by Ferrari following his near-miss at the championship and said that he hoped to remain with the team in some capacity.

“I’m still a Ferrari driver now and now we are discussed discussing about next year,” he explained. “It’s one of my targets, to stay here and see what what will happen for 2023. It’s still in discussion, but we will try our best.”

Giovinazzi said he had “no news” yet about a possible link to Ferrari’s WEC Hypercar programme which does not start until 2023. “So far what I know is that I will do Formula E and it’s a great championship, I will enjoy that,” he said. “Plus we are trying to stay here as well like third driver in Ferrari.

“And see what will happen in 2023. [WEC] is one championship that I would like to join, but there it’s too early to know and to decide.”

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2021 Qatar Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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12 comments on “Raikkonen hopes Giovinazzi gets Formula 1 return after Alfa Romeo exit”

  1. I can’t imagine GIO will get another chance at all. He’s been well beaten by Kimi who many consider to be past his best years ago.

    And he’s had plenty of chances.

    I wish him all the best but he’s done in formula 1.

    1. Probably would’ve deserved to stay seeing as he had been faster than raikkonen on most qualifyings and some races, but it’s also true there’s plenty of strong drivers coming up from the minor formulas, think example about piastri, who keeps winning championships but doesn’t get a f1 seat. Only 20 seats, I have no issue imagining there’s plenty more than 20 drivers who would be f1 material.

      1. We should have 40 cars, cheaper and simpler.

    2. giovinazzi’s results really don’t show how good he’s been this year. In the first half of the season, I would say he was obviously far better than Kimi if you actually look at his races and consider his bad luck. There were so many races that he had the better qualifying result and better race pace but finished behind because of strategy, bad pit stops or other bad luck. I honestly think it is because of Kimi’s popularity that so many thought he was better. Recently, I would say that over the 2nd half of the season that Kimi has been performing slightly better, and Giovinazzi has been a bit disappointing. But although it looks like Kimi was far better in the last 2 races, that really isn’t true. Giovinazzi had awful luck in both and I would say that if Kimi was better, it was barely by anything. Overall this season to me, Giovinazzi has been a little better, certainly not “well beaten” by KImi.

      I honestly thought he looked good enough to deserve to stay based on his performance in the first half of the season, but recently he’s been pretty poor, so I can see why he’s leaving.

      1. I’m somewhere in between in regards to Raikkonen vs Giovinazzi. I believe Kimi has been marginally better than Giovinazzi this season, although Giovinazzi has been very unlucky. But neither Alfa Romeo driver has set the world alight, and I expect Bottas to be a massive improvement on both for next year. The jury is out on Guanyu Zhou, but I think as he rookie he has the potential to be better than Giovinazzi so it is worth bringing him in. And, of course, he brings rather a lot of money.

        1. And also true that if you can’t beat an over 40 comprehensively you don’t have a lot of potential, a driver loses a lot of speed over 40 and already some over 35, I think most people would consider schumacher stronger than raikkonen, but rosberg, a fairly good driver in his prime, managed to beat an over 40 schumacher significantly overall, so that certainly shows giovinazzi doesn’t have the same potential as rosberg.

      2. luc vanderheyden
        20th November 2021, 18:08

        I believe it is not easy for a driver to perform at this level when your future is uncertain. Antonio did an excellent job in the second half of the season and deserves a seat in F1. Perhaps the biggest mistakes where made by the teams strategy. When good finishes are thrown away because of bad strategy, it becomes a charge for the driver to stay strong knowing he does every thing he can to perform and knowing it’s not in his hands, and knowing he can’t say anything to keep politically credible. The best previous example in F1 was Stoffel Vandoorne who suffered from Fernando’s inside team dominance and ruined his F1 career. F1 can be a talent killer.

  2. The two essentials for a driver to keep their seat are: 1) Do they keep their boss happy, or rather, does he have grounds for complaint? and 2) Is there someone better, and especially someone better who is cheaper?
    So far this year Antonio has got 1 point (18th in the WDC). Last year he got 4 points (16th in the WDC). In 2019 he got 14 points (sorry, but that was 17th in the WDC in 2019). I’m definitely not an F1 Team Principal, but to me those season end placings don’t look like they’d make the Team Principal happy. I don’t know about whether they are grounds for complaint, but he or she wouldn’t be happy with those results. So that brings us to the second question about whether there is someone better, and especially some better and cheaper. I suspect there are several F2 championship contenders who are better.

  3. I think Gio will surely be an added value to Ferrari in the role of a reserve driver. In the past, he has been credited with his excellent feedback and his ability to prepare the optimum set up for qualy and race between sessions experiencing with different configurations in the simulator sometimes overnight in Firdays.
    Ferrari have already started to use its new simulator to calibrate it in order to be ready for the 2022 season and they surely need someone with a proper F1 experience with the latest cars to carry on simulator and development work. I’ll be surprised if he will not be the Ferrari reserve driver next year.

  4. In many ways I agree with Kimi here. He seems to be a really nice guy and his rate of improvement has been good. He is talented for sure. But is he in the same league as Leclerc, Russel, Verstappen, Sainz, Norris and Gasly who could be considered his contemporaries? He just isn’t.

    He has certainly not shamed himself in F1 and he has certainly deserved every opportunity that he has had. Those opportunities have given him ample time to really show an outstanding version of himself, but he’s only ever shown himself to be good enough to be where he is. Sadly, just being good enough isn’t… enough.

    I hope he has a very bright future in the alternate high end series. Perhaps a seat in a Ferrari LMH car in the future?

    1. @johnt1788
      I agree, he was very anonymous in his first couple seasons but this season he’s been doing a good job I think. He’s a solid midfield driver, doesn’t get into trouble too much, but he’s not on the same level as those names you listed.

  5. Another matter is how easily he could return as race drives at different teams have competition & other drivers are probably a priority over him for several.

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