Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur insists Antonio Giovinazzi can still retain his seat for 2022 if he delivers complete performances this season.
Giovinazzi has been widely tipped to lose his drive after three years with Alfa Romeo, with Alpine academy driver Guanyu Zhou emerging as the favorite to partner Valtteri Bottas next year. Vasseur said that while he’s also focused on Formula 2 race-winner Theo Pourchaire’s long-term development, Giovinazzi has shown signs of improvement in recent races that could help him hold onto his seat.
“In terms of pure performance, we have to speak about qualifying and the race,” Vasseur told RACER. “Last year he did very strong races and was the best performing first-lap racer, so he did very well last year in the race.
“This season he’s struggling a little bit when he had to improve in qualifying after Q1. He did very well in the last few events, and I was very happy to see that he could deliver and could do a step over the different stints and runs. He was improving from Q1 to Q2 and Q2 to Q3 every single run, and he was able to put everything together and fine-tune during the qualifying.
“For sure, now the target is to score points, and the last few events were a bit difficult. But I know he’s able to do the job and now I’m waiting for the weekend when he puts everything together – qualifying pace, race pace and then from the first lap to the last lap.”
Given that Alfa Romeo has the only vacancy remaining on the 2022 grid, Vasseur said the team can take its time analyzing different options – a situation he believes Giovinazzi can use to his advantage.
“I think at least the good side of our position is that we can wait because we know we have some drivers in contact and the ball is in our hands,” he said. “It’s also the opportunity for Antonio to show that he can improve.
“I’m considering the situation as an opportunity for Antonio, because he’s the guy in the car who can show that he can do a good job and can improve. It’s much more frustrating when you’re not in the car and you have to wait to see if the others are doing well or badly. Antonio has this opportunity, and he has to take it.”