Formula 1: Antonio Giovinazzi to return to Alfa Romeo in 2021

Despite rumors suggesting otherwise, Antonio Giovinazzi is set to return for a third year at Alfa Romeo Racing in the 2021 Formula 1 season.

Alfa Romeo Racing have confirmed their 2021 Formula 1 driver lineup, and it is set to look the same as their 2019 and 2020 lineups.

As a result, Antonio Giovinazzi is set to return to the team for a third year in 2021.

Here is what the 26-year-old Italian had to say about the matter, according to Formula 1.

“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.”

There had been rumors that Giovinazzi would be replaced by one of the three Ferrari junior drivers who are competing and succeeding in Formula 2 this season, with those three drivers being Mick Schumacher, Callum Ilott and Robert Shwartzman, given the fact that Ferrari have the right to select one of Alfa Romeo’s two drivers.

But for the third straight year, they went with Giovinazzi. Giovinazzi is set to be back with Kimi Raikkonen for a third straight year as well, as Raikkonen also signed an extension.

Here is what team principal Fred Vasseur had to say about the matter.

“I am very pleased for the team to continue working with Kimi and Antonio for another season. Kimi is a driver who needs no introduction: his talent has been clear 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 and he is a true leader for the people working around him. Antonio finished last year’s campaign strongly and he picked up where he left off and kept improving throughout 2020.

“From the track to the engineering briefings, Antonio has played a crucial role for our team and he has thoroughly deserved a new contract for 2021. His work ethic, commitment to the team and contagious enthusiasm are a huge asset for Alfa Romeo Racing.”

Giovinazzi, who first competed for the team when they were still known as Sauber in 2017 as the replacement for the injured Pascal Wehrlein in two races, struggled as a rookie to start the 2019 season, scoring just one point in the first 13 races.

But in the season’s final eight races, he secured three top 10 finishes, including a career-high fifth place finish in the Brazilian Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, and he outscored Raikkonen 13-12 during that span en route to a 17th place finish in the driver standings.

Alfa Romeo have struggled this season, sitting in eighth place in the constructor standings with just five points, but Giovinazzi has been responsible for three of those five points, having finished in ninth in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring and 10th in the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. He sits in 16th in the driver standings.

Having confirmed both Giovinazzi and Raikkonen to their driver lineup for the 2021 season, Alfa Romeo are the fifth team to solidify their lineup for next year, joining Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams. Haas are the lone remaining team without any drivers confirmed for next year, while Mercedes, Red Bull, Aston Martin and AlphaTauri have each confirmed one of their two.