DRIVER MARKET: Giovinazzi says speed and consistency key to retaining Alfa Romeo seat
A week on from his big shunt midway through the Belgian Grand Prix, Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi has said that being “fast and consistent” across the remaining 10 races this year will be the key to him staying on at Alfa Romeo for a third season.
Giovinazzi made a mistake on the exit of Spa-Francorchamps’ Les Fagnes chicane last time out in Belgium, hitting the outside wall of the corner, before sliding across the track, as his detached wheel made contact with George Russell’s Williams, meaning both drivers retired from the race – fortunately without any harm done to themselves.
And asked ahead of the 2020 Italian Grand Prix whether the accident had occurred because he’d been instructed to push harder by his team to catch the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, Giovinazzi replied: “In the end I think, racing drivers always need to push and this was what I was doing on that lap.
“I knew that Sebastian was really close to me and I was trying to be on his DRS zone. This was my target and unfortunately what happened, it's too late to see what's wrong from my side, I was just trying to push like I always did, and unfortunately this time it went wrong but... now I just want to do well here in Monza and forget about Spa.”
It was an inopportune moment for an unforced error from Giovinazzi, with Alfa Romeo Team Principal Fred Vasseur’s thoughts presumably starting to turn to next season – and with a host of promising Ferrari Driver Academy members, including Mick Schumacher, Robert Shwartzman and Callum Ilott, currently performing well in Formula 2.
But Giovinazzi, who scored Alfa Romeo’s only two points of the year so far at the season-opening race in Austria, said that he knows what he needs to do to retain his seat.
“I think first of all I came to Formula 1 because I don't have any big names behind me, or any big sponsors behind me,” said Giovinazzi, who was picked up by Ferrari’s Driver Academy in 2017, and placed at Alfa Romeo last season.
“I'm here just because of results and talent. I know that Formula 1 is critical, you need to always be in good shape every race weekend and I know also that many times, in one week you can be a really bad driver, then the next week, just after a few days, you can be a hero.
“So from my side, if I can continue like I'm doing to be fast and try to score the points for the team, nobody can take my seat next year, so we'll see what happens but I'm quite assured from what I need to do. Just be fast and be consistent.”
Giovinazzi also confirmed that he’d not been told a concrete date yet by Vasseur when his future will be decided – while the future of his team mate Kimi Raikkonen remains unclear too, with the 40 year old only contracted at the team until the end of 2020.