The seat next to Kimi Räikkönen at Alfa Romeo is coveted for 2020, with Renault driver Nico Hülkenberg, among others, being the candidate. Yet it seems strong that Antonio Giovinazzi can still drive 'safely' this season for next year.
Almost all teams have already announced their racing duo for 2020. Alfa Romeo is one of the few stables that has not yet given clarity. Räikkönen is already fixed, but the second chair is not forgiven yet.
The figures don't look good for the 25-year-old Giovinazzi. He has so far only scored three World Championship points, while his experienced teammate Räikkönen already rode 31 points together. In Italy two weeks ago, Giovinazzi achieved his best result of the season with ninth place, while a week earlier in Belgium he still threw World Championship points with a major crash in the final phase.
"He had a bad weekend in Spa, but has recovered well," team boss Fred Vasseur complimented his driver on Friday in Singgapore, where the fifteenth Grand Prix of the season will be held this weekend.
"We would like to help him improve further. There will be a time to talk about the future, but for now we are focused on Antonio and I think he is working well step by step," Vasseur added.
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Ferrari influences driver choice at Alfa Romeo
An advantage for Giovinazzi is that it is under contract with Ferrari, which has a firm grip on the choice of driver at Alfa Romeo. Team boss Mattia Binotto of the Scuderia is still enthusiastic about the Italian talent. "He is growing and needs to be supported. Antonio is one of our drivers and so we have to give him confidence."
"Antonio has to show that there is growth in the last seven races. He has already shown that in the last races," said Binotto. The Italian emphasized that there are underlying reasons why Giovinazzi has not yet shown his true potential in his debut year. Especially at the start of the season, his Alfa Romeo had a lot of technical problems.
"And after his final year in Formula 2, he has not raced for two seasons. But we see that he is taking steps. He is already close to Kimi in qualifying," Binotto defended his driver. In the mutual qualifying match it stands 10-4 for Räikkönen.
See also: Hülkenberg: "Unrealistic that I will be driving for Red Bull next year"
Speed is not the problem, consistency is
Vasseur emphasized that the problem with Giovinazzi is not in speed. "That is certain. There are absolutely no complaints about that." The Frenchman wants his driver to show more consistency in the races. "I especially want us to score more points."
There were already rumors around the Italian Grand Prix that Giovinazzi could keep his coveted seat in 2020, but according to Vasseur it is not yet that far. "We are not in a hurry," said the team boss
"It's quite logical to wait with the choice and see how Antonio improves. But to be honest, I think he's on the right track."
GP Singapore start times
- Saturday: Third free practice - 12:00
- Saturday: Qualification - 3 p.m.
- Sunday: Race - 2.10 p.m.