Antonio Giovinazzi Can Fill Kimi Raikkonen’s Boots at Alfa Romeo F1: Vasseur

Published 05/29/2021, 5:12 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi attends a press conference Pool via REUTERS/Gabriel Bouys


Amidst the many bright lights of the F1 world, one driver who has gone under the radar a lot in recent times has been Antonio Giovinazzi. The Alfa Romeo man may have not set the world alight with his results. But his improvement in the last season or so has been impressive.

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The Italian has managed to keep his championship-winning teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, on his toes and has even done better than him on a few good occasions. With the Finn at the end of his career, Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur believes Giovinazzi is ready to fill Kimi’s shoes.

With 20 years of experience in him, replacing Kimi will almost be impossible. But Vasseur believes Antonio may be the right man to lead the team’s charge in the future.

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Formula One F1. Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy. Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi walks around the track ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

When asked if Giovinazzi is ready to replace Raikkonen and take the role of an experienced driver who provides a reference point, Vasseur said (translated via Google), “I think so. The feedback that Antonio guarantees us is solid.”

Alfa Romeo boss highlights the change Antonio Giovinazzi made to improve

Raikkonen had convincingly beaten Giovinazzi in the latter’s debut F1 campaign. But last year, especially at the back end, Antonio’s performances were on par with the 2007 world champion’s.

That development has carried over to this year too. Antonio currently has scored the team’s only point of the campaign thus far with an impressive P10 finish in Monaco.

Vasseur revealed that a change in approach has brought out this development. He said, “Probably one of the problems he suffered in the past was wanting to focus on Kimi as a reference. I think the big change was the decision to focus exclusively on himself and the work he is capable of doing. 

Formula One F1. Monaco Grand Prix. Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco. Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi in action during practice REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

“It is not a foregone change, because we know that the first point of reference for every rider is his teammate, but Antonio has changed his approach and we have seen the results. Now he has a solid position in the team, and this is also important for the team.”

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Alfa Romeo themselves have made quite the step up in the performance department this year. They have gone from competing with the likes of Williams and Haas to being a team with a legitimate shot of getting into the top 10.

It’ll be interesting to see which of their drivers end the season with the bragging rights. Giovinazzi has the advantage at the moment, but rule out Kimi at your own peril.

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Ronan Carvalho

1063 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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