Alfa Romeo would consider all-new driver pairing

Date published: July 18 2021 - Jamie Woodhouse

Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur has Antonio Giovinazzi at the top of his list for 2022, but two new drivers can not be ruled out.

The Swiss outfit has continued with Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen for 2021, the third season of this partnership, though just like in the previous two seasons, questions continue to linger over the futures of both drivers.

At the age of 41, Raikkonen’s career in Formula 1 is certainly reaching its closing stages, and there have been calls from some for the Finn to call it quits at the end of the season with uncharacteristic errors now creeping in.

Giovinazzi meanwhile has done a respectable job in his time at Alfa Romeo, but it feels like the Italian is yet to enjoy that breakout moment which makes him indispensable.

He is though, at the top of Vasseur’s list for 2022, but the Alfa principal is not necessarily interested in keeping the line-up the same for 2022 just for the sake of keeping a reference point.

“It could be a point, but it’s not necessary,” he said of the suggestion of retaining either Giovinazzi or Raikkonen for continuity, as quoted by The Race.

“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, blah.

“Let’s see. We’ll do the choice when it will be the right time to do it. We could keep the same line-up or we could change. Everything is open.

“And 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. We need the pressure to perform. And I don’t want to be in an easy world.

“He [Giovinazzi] is on the list for sure, he is part of the family, he is improving. And he will be on the top of the list for next year.

“Now I want to see more improvement, more results in 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.”

Kimi Raikkonen crashes into Giovinazzi.jpg

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Vasseur will not be rushing any decisions in the driver market though, instead he is happy to wait and see which moves happen further up the grid, which will create a domino effect from there.

Alfa Romeo has held an affiliation with Ferrari over recent years, responsible for Giovinazzi’s seat with the team, but the renewed Sauber/Alfa Romeo deal means that the team now has full responsibility for its driver line-up.

“I will do as I did in the past, I think it’s good for us to keep everybody under pressure. And we will see how the market is evolving,” Vasseur explained.

“The system will fill the places at the top. It means that Mercedes has to take a decision and then Red Bull has to take a decision and like a domino, at one stage we will have some opportunities on the table and we’ll take a decision at this stage.”

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