Facing the loss of his seat, one that would leave Italy without an F1 driver, Angelo Sticchi Damiani has urged the Italian government to save Antonio Giovinazzi’s career.
After three seasons as a Ferrari-backed Alfa Romeo driver, Giovinazzi is believed be on the verge of losing his race seat.
With just one point on the board this season, the Italian’s performances have not inspired, leaving Alfa Romeo debating whether to go with an all-new line up in Valtteri Bottas and a rookie driver, or keep Giovinazzi.
The team is said to be considering promoting Sauber junior Theo Pourchaire, or even handing the second seat to Alpine junior Guanyu Zhou, who comes with a €30m sponsorship package.
Team boss Fred Vasseur recently admitted that signing Mercedes driver Bottas means it “doesn’t matter if the team-mate is a rookie or an experienced guy, we will benefit of the experience and the speed of Valtteri.”
Should Alfa Romeo go the rookie route it means Italy will be without a Formula 1 driver, something Automobile Club d’Italia president Damiani finds inconceivable.
So much so that pitlanetv.com reports he took advantage of the Italian Grand Prix to request that the Italian government helps fund Giovinazzi’s stay.
Grazie Tifosi 💚🤍❤️ pic.twitter.com/JtKyaktTFi
— Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN (@alfaromeoracing) September 11, 2021
“He is a great driver and we have not yet been able to give him that opportunity to truly show his full potential,” Damiani told the website.
“I hope that the Italian government takes into account all those values of Antonio Giovinazzi and moves chips, something fundamental that will help when the needs arise.
“We are talking of course about the necessary quantity for him to continue in F1.
“Nowadays it is not like in F1 in the past where good drivers had no problems to keep racing.
“The one that is really worth it of course keeps going, but also the one that has more figures in his bank account to contribute to the team.
“It is our obligation to defend Antonio Giovinazzi and give him the opportunity to continue in F1 to show his true potential and evolve as he deserves.”
Although Giovinazzi is a Ferrari junior, the Scuderia placing him at the Alfa Romeo team, this time around they seem unlikely to go to bat for the 27-year-old.
Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto has made it clear that Alfa Romeo’s driver decision is Alfa Romeo’s.
“I think that’s really a choice of the team,” he said last Friday.
“The team are really independent on the choice of their driver, which is important for us as well.
“It’s clear as well that Antonio for us, he’s our reserve driver, he’s an Italian driver, he’s part of the Ferrari family, he’s a Ferrari driver, so for us it will be great to have him still driving next year.
“We believe he is a good driver and somehow he deserves to have a seat next year but, as I said, we cannot influence the team decision.”