Alfa Romeo To Announce 2021 Driver Line-up.
Two of the most iconic names in motorsport are set to drive for Alfa Romeo in 2021.
After weeks of Alfa Romeo Team Principle Fred Vasseur publicly flirting with the idea, according to Spanish Media, it appears Alfa Romeo are now set to announce Mick Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen as their new driver line up for 2021 on Friday, bringing an end to the rumours of retirement for the Iceman and putting a Schumacher on an F1 grid for the first time since 2012.
One. More. Year.
Raikkonen, 40 is the most experienced driver on the F1 grid having taken part in 322 races and after this weekend will hold the all-time record of Grand Prix participations.
Kimi's retirement saga seemed to go on forever, with many believing that the lacklustre campaign had Raikkonen questioning his commitment to the sport, which in turn sprouted rumours of free agents Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez both being in talks with Alfa Romeo.
However, it now appears that the Iceman, who will be 42 next year, has agreed on a one-year extension after an upturn in form for both driver and team.
Lawrence Barretto from the official Formula1.com website has reported: "My sources say he is now leaning towards staying put for another year, something Alfa Romeo are understood to want... It’s as close to certain as you can get that the Finn, will be an Alfa Romeo driver next season."
After persistent rumours all season long that Mick Schumacher, 21 would be in line for an F1 seat if he performed well in F2, it appears Alfa Romeo have seen all they need to see from the Ferrari Academy Driver.
Just days after announcing they would be giving him a run out in FP1 on Friday at the Eifel Grand Prix, they now look set to announce him as the other half of their driver line up for 2021 after agreeing on a one year deal.
Although their decision has probably been heavily swayed by Ferrari, Alfa Romeo knows what they are doing: Raikkonen and Schumacher, two iconic names in Motorsport linked to a unique brand such as Alfa Romeo is a marketing match made in heaven, with both having a large following it will bring more eyes onto Alfa Romeo and the team, which in turn will see an upturn in sales and merchandising, as well as sponsor interest as companies clamour to sponsor a car driven by a Schumacher.
But let's not forget Schumacher hasn't just got to F1 because of his name. He is a Formula 3 Champion and is currently top of the Formula 2 drivers standings by 22 points with 8 podiums and 2 wins to his name, in a highly competitive grid in which any of the top 10 drivers could argue for a seat in F1 now or in the future.
What Next For Giovinazzi?
The person who misses out in all of the buzz is Antonio Giovinazzi, 26 and its hard not to feel sorry for him.
After starting the season pretty well, finishing P9 in Austria, Giovinazzi has not been able to replicate this points finish and has only managed the highest finish of P11 in Sochi.
He is tied on points with his teammate sitting in 16th, both on 2 points, however, with Kimi's well known ability to develop a car throughout the season and with the Iceman's very well documented popularity, these might be just some of the reasons why Alfa Romeo have decided to drop Giovinazzi.
So, what next for the Italian? He joins a talented group of free agents in the form of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg and with seats vanishing rapidly, it might mean a year out for Antonio, unless a surprise move to Haas is on the cards, due to his Ferrari links.
As he is still part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, a test driver role for either Alfa Romeo, Haas or Ferrari, looks to be his best bet if he want's to stay in the world of F1, or is it time Antonio Giovinazzi flies the nest of the FDA and see what else is waiting for him in this crazy world of motorsport.
What do you think about Alfa Romeo's 2021 driver line-up? What do you think Antonio Giovinazzi should do next? Let me know in the comments below. If you enjoyed this article don't forget to leave a like and follow me on Drivetribe to be the first to see my articles. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter: @matt10nes & Instagram: Matt10nes for more F1 and motorsport news and views.