Antonio Giovinazzi recovered from a tough start to his debut full-season in F1 as Kimi Raikkonen’s teammate at Alfa Romeo, but a turnaround in the second half of 2019 helped him secure his place at the Swiss squad for the upcoming campaign.
While Raikkonen enjoyed a fine run of four consecutive points finishes, Giovinazzi failed to make the top 10 until the Austrian Grand Prix in June. He was on course to make that two points finishes in Spa until he crashed out of the top 10 late on, an error which nearly cost him his seat.
However, Giovinazzi instantly responded by bouncing back on home soil at Monza and returning to the points with a strong drive to ninth, which he followed up with a 10th-place finish in Singapore. His season highlight came in Brazil as he took a brilliant fifth behind Raikkonen to seal Alfa’s best result of the year, while his qualifying performances against Raikkonen also improved dramatically.
The Italian will be expected to perform more consistently from the get-go in 2020, and the experience he will have gained alongside veteran Raikkonen should stand him in good stead. Failure to make a step up will likely lead to uncertainty over his future, amid a plethora of promising talent emerging from Ferrari’s young driver pool.
what Raikkonen will decide to do
The Scuderia is understood to hold a deciding sway over who gets one of the Alfa seats – which will have helped Giovinazzi’s cause in seeing off potential competition from the likes of Nico Hulkenberg – and will be closely monitoring the performances of its rising stars including Mick Schumacher, reigning Formula 3 champion Robert Shwartzman and Marcus Armstrong, any of which could thrust themselves into contention for a 2021 Alfa seat with a particularly outstanding F2 campaign.
There is also the question mark of what Raikkonen will decide to do upon the expiry of his contract at the end of the season. Should Raikkonen decide to bring his remarkable tenure in the sport to a close after 300+ races, that could hand Giovinazzi a lifeline if needed.
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THE NEXT RACE 2021
|Bahrain ||26 Mar|
|14:30 - 15:30||Free practice 1|
|18:00 - 19:00||Free practice 2|
|15:00 - 16:00||Free practice 3|
|18:00 - 19:00||Qualifying|
|18:00 - 20:00||Race|
|Bahrain||57 laps||308.238 km|