Alfa Romeo confirm Giovinazzi for 2020

Alfa Romeo will retain Italian driver Antonio Giovinazzi for a second season with the team in 2020.

Giovinazzi, who is competing in his first full season of F1 in 2019, will once again partner Kimi Raikkonen in an unchanged line-up next season.

After a difficult start to the campaign Giovinazzi has come on leaps and bounds since the summer break, scoring all of Alfa’s three points in that time.

“I am very happy to be staying with the team for 2020,” Giovinazzi told the Alfa Romeo Sauber Group website.

“I am grateful for the incredible level of support I received in my first full season in Formula 1. 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.”

Alfa Romeo principal Frederic Vasseur, who has been praising Giovinazzi’s work in recent months, is delighted that he will continue with the team for 2020.

“Antonio has done really well this year and I am extremely pleased to be able to confirm he will stay with Alfa Romeo Racing for 2020,” he added.

“The way he has integrated into the team and has consistently improved throughout his first full season in the sport are very promising and we cannot wait to unlock his full potential as we continue to work together.

“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.”

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Raikkonen: Unfortunate but that’s how racing goes

They had high hopes of leaving Mexico with a decent haul of points, but the racing weekend ended in frustration for Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi.

Raikkonen started 14th on the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez grid on Sunday, one place ahead of his Alfa Romeo team-mate, but his race was compromised on the opening lap as he got picked up damage after getting sandwiched.

He continued for a couple more laps, but eventually retired after 13 laps.

It meant a sixth consecutive race without a top 10 finish for the Finn, but he is hoping his fortunes will change in Texas next weekend.

“It’s a shame to have to retire from the race because generally we had been a bit happier with things this weekend,” the Finn said.

“Unfortunately, much of our day was decided at the start. I got squeezed between two cars and a big chunk of my floor was destroyed. The cooling was damaged too and later in the race the temperatures went very high and we had to stop the car.

“It’s unfortunate but that’s how racing goes sometimes. At some point our pace wasn’t too bad, so let’s hope we can keep improving next week.”

Team-mate Giovinazzi finished the race, but he was also pointless as he was down in P14 as a problem at the pit stop cost him dearly.

“My start wasn’t too bad and in the opening phases I was racing with the Renaults and Racing Points, but the pit-stop issue cost us a lot of time,” the Italian said.

“After that, with no Safety Car or VSC, our race was effectively compromised. I was pretty much on my own for the rest of the afternoon, so it’s hard to tell where we stood in terms of pace. We will need to work hard to get back in time for next week, in Austin.”

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Alfa Romeo to decide Giovinazzi’s future ‘soon’

Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur says the team will reach a decision soon on whether or not to retain Antonio Giovinazzi for 2020.

After a difficult start to the season Giovinazzi is now starting to find his feet and has largely outperformed team-mate Kimi Raikkonen since Formula 1 resumed after the summer break.

Raikkonen is already confirmed for 2020, and even though Nico Hulkenberg is rumoured to be sniffing around Giovinazzi’s seat, as a Ferrari Academy driver, they are believed to have a say on Giovinazzi’s future at Alfa.

But whatever happens, Vasseur says that Giovinazzi’s future will be confirmed soon.

“We will take the decision quite soon but honestly, if you have a look at the last event I think that Antonio is doing a very strong job, that he was matching Kimi in the last six or seven qualifyings in a row,” he said in the Friday press conference at Suzuka.

“He was in front in Sochi. OK, the first lap was not a good one for us but he’s doing the job and he’s improving step-by-step but this morning we had an issue on the car and he was not able to show the pace but he’s doing the job, he’s improving and I’m very confident with Antonio.”

The team have been in a slump since the summer break, with Giovinazzi’s three points scored in that time the only ones which have come Alfa’s way.

Vasseur therefore is paying attention to the finer details as he looks to decide the 2020 driver line-up.

“It’s small things and small details honestly. If you compare with Sochi that we were, with Antonio, we were P13 in Quali but we were two tenths off compared to P7 in Q2 and it’s very, very tight and for small details sometimes you can be completely out of the classification, but we have to take care when you are doing the analysis,” he explained.

“But it’s true also that we made too many mistakes over the last three or four weekends – teams, drivers, everyone in the same basket – but at the end of the day we have to wake up a little bit and to come back to the pace and top score points in the last four events.”

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