The official announcement has come as a real surprise. Whereas the continuity of the 41-year-old Finn has been speculated on for weeks, there was no indication that his Italian partner would continue by his side next season.
There were plenty of rumours, in fact, regarding Giovinazzi’s exit. However, the bosses at Alfa Romeo, a subsidiary of Ferrari, are sufficiently satisfied with the performance of the Italian.
Kimi and Antonio, which became a flagship team back in 2019 for the perfect combination of seniority and youth, will continue to share the box for the third consecutive year until the end of the 2021 World Championship.
Antonio Giovinazzi, 26, made his F1 debut with Sauber in two alternate appearances at the 2017 Australian and Chinese Grand Prix and became a full-time driver with the same team for the 2019 season.
The Italian must now focus on improving his results, something that does not seem very difficult considering how poor these have been so far.
The announcement comes at a special time for the team. Last week after the Portuguese GP, ‘Iceman’ officially became part of F1 history for breaking the record on the total number of Grand Prix disputed, a total of 327.
This weekend at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Antonio will also become the first and only driver to ever take part in three Formula One races in his home country in the course of one single season.
The pair will also mark a triple celebration this weekend at Emilia Romagna; their renewed partnership with Alfa Romeo, Imola’s return to the F1 calendar and the team’s 110th anniversary. As a tribute, the car will be adorned with the Italian flag.
The 2007 world champion, Kimi Räikkönen was visibly pleased with the announcement:
“It is more than a team to me; it is like a second family. So many of the faces that were around me when I made my F1 debut in 2001 are still here and the unique atmosphere of this team is what gives me that extra motivation to keep going for the nineteenth season next year”.
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe in the team’s project and in what we feel we can achieve together. This is a team that values hard work over words and this fits well with my style: I am looking forward to next year and hopefully making some steps forward towards the front of the midfield with the team.”
26-year-old Antonio Giovinazzi also declared:
“Alfa Romeo Racing has been my home in Formula One for the last two seasons and I am happy that this relationship can continue for another year. The team has put a lot of faith in me and I have done my best to repay this confidence with hard work and commitment”.
“We have achieved some good results and I feel I have done my part to make the team progress, but the road ahead is still long and there is much more we want to achieve together.”
Team director Sauber Motorsport CEO Frederic Vasseur also had the following to say:
“I am delighted for Kimi and Antonio to continue as part of the team for another season. Kimi does not need an introduction: His talent has been obvious to everyone since 2001 and I still see the passion and motivation in him every time I see him at work. He can be trusted to deliver 100% of what the car can produce”.
Images: Alfa Romeo Racing.