Lance Stroll, Nicholas Latifi & Nikita Mazepin Deserve to Be in F1: Giovinazzi Defends Pay Drivers

Published 06/03/2021, 3:31 AM EDT
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

Over the years, quite a lot of F1 teams, including Williams and Haas, have had to rely on pay drivers over sheer talent in a bid to keep the outfit afloat. Of course, this isn’t something new to F1, as there have even been world champions who initially started their careers as pay drivers – Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher, for instance.


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However, the rise in prioritization of such pay drivers has certainly raised concerns over the sport’s future.

Amidst the backlash, Alfa Romeo driver, Antonio Giovinazzi, chose to back pay drivers, reckoning that they’ve proven in other series that they’re worthy enough to be competing on the big stage.


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What did the Alfa Romeo F1 driver say?

Speaking to Auto Motor Und Sport, Giovinazzi opined that Nikita Mazepin, Lance Stroll, and Nicholas Latifi deserve to compete at this level of racing.

But you have also shown in the other series that you can win. They are here because they deserve it. Of course, names and money help,” he said. “But they have also proven themselves in the lower categories.

Lewis Hamilton was one of the drivers who opposed the concept of pay drivers. The Briton reckoned there is enough talent in the market, and lack of money shouldn’t be obstructing such talents from tasting the success of competing in F1.

Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 6, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix REUTERS/Albert Gea

There have been variable opinions from the drivers. But it is likely that F1 will soon take a stance on the usage of pay drivers.


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Not an easy start to 2021: Giovinazzi

Alfa Romeo have been one of the unluckiest teams this season. Despite portraying a much-improved pace to 2020, neither of the drivers managed to break into the top 10 until the latest race at Monaco. They were constantly seeing the checkered just outside the top 10.

However, Giovinazzi looked at the bright side, as he cherished the drastic improvement Alfa Romeo managed to make over the winter.


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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 wasn’t an easy start. Luck wasn’t on our side,” he said. “But we have to be happy and proud of the work we did over the winter. The car is definitely better than last year. It wasn’t easy to get into Q2. Now we’ve done it four times in five races.

Overall, the margins are extremely small amongst the mid-field teams. Hence, all Alfa Romeo needs is the extra few tenths of a second to take their battle to the top mid-field teams like Alpine and Aston Martin. But will they manage to do so?


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Rohit Kumar

747 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.