Alfa Romeo retains Raikkonen and Giovinazzi for 2021

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Alfa Romeo retains Raikkonen and Giovinazzi for 2021

Formula 1

Alfa Romeo retains Raikkonen and Giovinazzi for 2021

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Alfa Romeo will have an unchanged line-up of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi in 2021, extending the stay of Formula 1’s most experienced driver.

Raikkonen broke the record for most grand prix starts by one driver in Germany when he started his 323rd race, breaking the previous record held by Rubens Barrichello. The 41-year-old joined Alfa Romeo from Ferrari at the end of 2018 and says he is still motivated to help the team move forward over the next 12 months.

“Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN is more than a team to me, it is like a second family,” Raikkonen said. “So many of the faces that were around me when I made my Formula 1 debut in 2001 are still here and the unique atmosphere of this team is what gives me that extra motivation to keep going in what will be my 19th season in the sport, 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.”

Giovinazzi is a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy and, after a spell where it looked like his seat could be taken by one of Mick Schumacher or Robert Shwartzman, he will remain with Alfa Romeo for a third straight season alongside Raikkonen.

“Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN has been my home in Formula 1 for the last two seasons and I am happy this relationship can continue for one more year,” Giovinazzi said. “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 will be a lot of continuity between this season and the next one, so everything we work on between now and the end of the year will already count for next, and we are ready to give it all we have.”

While Raikkonen brings a huge amount of experience to Alfa Romeo, team principal Frederic Vasseur says Giovinazzi’s impact behind the scenes has been significant.

“I am very pleased for the team to continue working with Kimi and Antonio for another season,” Vasseur said. “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 ORLEN.”

With Alfa Romeo naming an unchanged line-up, Schumacher is expected to join Haas regardless of if he wraps up the Formula 2 title, partnering fellow F2 rookie Nikita Mazepin.

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