The jigsaw puzzle called the 2020 Formula One grid is nearing completion, but Nico Hulkenberg is not a piece that fits. One of his options, Alfa Romeo, have ruled themselves out when they retained Antonio Giovinazzi alongside Kimi Raikkonen.
The Italian driver has scored four points in his maiden full-time rookie season, which was enough to convince Alfa Romeo. Unfortunately, this spelt doom for Nico Hulkenberg, who was holding out for the Alfa drive after his exit from Renault.
“I am very happy to be staying with the team for 2020,” exclaimed a delighted Giovinazzi. “I am grateful for the incredible level of support I received in my first full season in Formula One: everyone in the team has stuck by my side since I joined and I am really looking forward to continuing our journey together.
“We learned a lot this year and I am confident we can make a big step forward next season. I won’t be a rookie anymore so there won’t be any excuses for me: I want to be competitive right from the start of the championship and repay the confidence the team has shown in me.”
Team principal Fred Vasseur was pleased that the 25-year old has been performing well this year. So, he was only too happy to sign him up for another year with Alfa Romeo Racing.
He said, “Antonio has emerged as a very quick driver, even alongside as tough a benchmark as Kimi, and we expect him to develop even further as his experience grows.
“His technical feedback, work ethics and positive approach will help us continue to push our team forward, and so will the consistency of an unchanged line-up for next season.”
With Giovinazzi’s new deal, only four seats are left, but three are reserved for Red Bull drivers. The only remaining seat is at Williams, who have been perennial backmarkers this season, so he’d only be wasting his time and talent there.