Team Alfa Romeo has announced its driver line-up for 2021 and both drivers have been retained for the next season. Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi will continue their journey with the team, with Raikkonen entering his 19th season in Formula 1 next year. Interestingly, the Alfa Romeo team are the same people he started his career with in the sport in 2001, then branded as Sauber. The announcement comes with the Imola Grand Prix this weekend, first of the last three races left in the current season.
Speaking more than a few words this time, Raikkonen said, "Alfa Romeo Racing is more than a team to me, it is like a second family. 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."
Meanwhile, the announcement guarantees another a year of learning for Giovinazzi, especially with the chassis being carried over, albeit with aerodynamic upgrades. Speaking on the announcement, the Ferrari junior driver 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."
Team Principal Fred Vasseur added, "I am very pleased for the team to continue working with Kimi and Antonio for another season. 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 per cent 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."
With the announcement, Raikkonen will continue to be the oldest driver on the grid next year, only to be joined by another veteran, Fernando Alonso, who joins Renault next season. Alfa Romeo says it is keen to retain Raikkonen, given the driver's incredible pace and highly impressive techncal feedback. The driver did display his skills once again by passing 10 cars on the opening lap of the exciting Portugal Grand Prix last weekend. The next season will only extend Raikkonen's record of the maximum race starts by a driver in the sport. That being said, Alfa Romeo has had a difficult season this year and it currently sits eighth in the championship standings with just five points.