Alfa Romeo F1 Boss Open to Axing Both Raikkonen & Giovinazzi Once Driver Market ‘Domino’ Sets In

Published 07/17/2021, 9:47 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 7, 2021 Alfa Romeo Racing Team Principal Frederic Vasseur talks in the Team Principals Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES


Astonishment, dismay, the constant buzz of rumors; the driver’s market only adds to the spectacle in F1. All the big teams have caused a stir on the grid, but Alfa Romeo may also have an interesting “silly season” this time around. Kimi Raikkonen brings experience and weight to the team while Antonio Giovinazzi brings improvement for the future.

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However, both drivers’ contracts terminate at the end of this season. Team principal Fred Vasseur says he wants to keep his options open. “We’ll do the choice when it will be the right time to do it. We could keep the same lineup or we could change, but everything is open”  

He shares his thoughts on the empty seats next season: “You can say that it’s always good to have a kind of continuity into the team, because at least you have a reference and you can compare with the feeling of the previous year and blah, blah. But let’s see.”

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Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi in the paddock ahead of the Grand Prix REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

This means Alfa Romeo could replace both drivers next season. “There is no option. No contract. It means that it’s an open discussion.” Both the drivers have had average performances in Silverstone so far. Kimi qualified 17th and Gio, 14th on Friday’s session at the circuit.

While Gio shows promise, Raikkonen’s age and plunging performance may put him out of the seat, and the sport next season.

Fred Vasseur’s decision for Alfa Romeo

The Italian team signed a deal with Ferrari. Nonetheless, Vasseur holds the final decision of the drivers. He says, “I think it’s also quite comfortable for the team to have everything open. It’s good for Antonio and good for Kimi. I don’t have the feeling that to be under pressure is fundamentally bad. I think that we need the pressure to perform and I don’t want it to be an easy world.”

Kimi Raikkonen may have reached the end of the road this season. The world champion’s career is slowing down in a fast-paced sport. His Alfa Romeo has been out-performed by the sister car multiple times this season. Giovinazzi, on the other hand, has been climbing up the ranks. “Antonio is on the list for sure…He is part of the family. He is improving… and he will be at the top of the list for next year.”

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This isn’t enough for the Frenchman“Now I want to see more improvement and more results into the race. Everybody’s under pressure. I am under pressure, the engineers are under pressure, the drivers they have to be under pressure. It’s a world of pressure.”

Vasseur doesn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry to decide. A wise man, he wants to wait and see how the rest of the market fairs out. “We will see how the market is evolving… Mercedes has to take a decision and then Red Bull has to take a decision. Then, like a domino, at one stage, we will have some opportunities on the table and we’ll take a decision at this stage.”

As Alfa Romeo lies low, the anticipation only rises. Will the treasured veteran pull through another season? Does Gio move up or fall back? Is there a rookie involved? It is all but a waiting game.

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Shreya Sanjeev

137 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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