Ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen team confirmed that it would retain its existing driver line-up of Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi for the 2021 F1 season.
Alfa Romeo announced yesterday that is has extended its contract with Sauber Motorsport which means that the Italian marque will retain its naming rights until at least 2021. The Italian-Swiss outfit has now confirmed that its current pairing will stay together for a third season.
Raikkonen will embark on an impressive 19th season in Formula 1 in 2021 after agreeing to extend his deal with Alfa Romeo for another season.
The Espoo-born driver made his debut at the pinnacle of motorsport in 2001 with Sauber Petronas. After a single season with the Swiss team, he joined McLaren for the next season followed by a three-year spell at Ferrari that saw him secure the Drivers’ Championship title in his debut year with the Scuderia in 2007.
He left Formula One at the end of 2009 to compete in the World Rally Championship and the Nascar series before rejoining the sport in 2012 with the Lotus F1 Team. After spending two years and scoring two wins with the Enstone-based outfit, he rejoined Ferrari for another five years. In 2019, he joined the Sauber Motorsport-run Alfa Romeo Racing.
“Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN is more than a team to me, it is like a second family," said the Finn. "So many of the faces that were around me when I made my Formula One 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.”
🎙️Kimi "Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN is more than a team to me, it is like a second family. 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. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/PQ8JPBfCw2— Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN (@alfaromeoracing) October 30, 2020
Giovinazzi joined Formula One in 2019 with Alfa Romeo and the extension of his current contract means that he would stay with the Italian marque for a third season. Before stepping up to Formula One, the Martina Franca-born raced in a variety of racing series including Formula 3 European Championship and the GP2 Series. His most impressive result was his second place in the overall standings in the 2016 GP2 Series where he took five race victories and two pole positions.
“Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN has been my home in Formula One for the last two seasons, and I am happy this relationship can continue for one more year,” he 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."
The 26-year-old Italian secured the 17th place in the Drivers’ Championship last year after scoring a total of 14 points. He has finished in the top ten on two occasions so far in 2020 which saw him earn three championship points.
„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. There will be a lot of continuity between this season and the next one, so everything we work on between now and the end of the year will already count for next, and we are ready to give it all we have.”
Commenting on the announcement, Alfa Romeo Team Principal Frederic Vasseur said: “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% 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 ORLEN.” he said.