Berlin, 31 October 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Age is slowing no sign of slowing down Formula One veteran Kimi Raikkonen as his Alfa Romeo team said Friday he would be retained for the 2021 season alongside Antonio Giovinazzi.
The 41-year-old Finn, who was world champion in 2007, has entered and started more grands prix than any other driver in the sport.
“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,” Raikkonen said.
Team principal Frederic Vasseur said Raikkonen “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.”
Giovinazzi, 26, was also confirmed in his spot ahead of Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola, Italy.
“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,” the Italian said.”
“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.”
Also on Friday Williams F1 chief Simon Roberts confirmed George Russell and Nicholas Latifi will stay at the team for 2021.
Prior to a change in the team’s ownership, now in the hands of Dorilton Capital, Williams announced back in July that Russell and Latifi would be retained as their drivers line-up for the next season.
Recently Roberts refused to confirm Williams line-up for 2021, but did do so ahead of Sunday’s race.
“I probably caused a bit of confusion last week, I’m sorry about that,” Roberts said. “We didn’t really want to comment on the driver position. But as George said, Claire [Williams] made the announcement earlier this year, nothing has changed.
“This is our driver line-up for this year and next year. We’re very happy with them, and we look forward to working with them in a continued way.”
Rumours emerged in October that Sergio Perez was a possible candidate for Russell’s seat. Perez will be replaced by Sebastian Vettel at Racing Point, who will rebrand to Aston Martin next year.
Russell said last weekend he expected to get clarification from the team, and the he believed the rumours about his future were “fed by Perez’s camp.”
“As Simon said, I was confident nothing would change moving into 2021, even with all the speculation going around,” Russell said.
Alfa Romeo are eighth in the 10-team constructors’ championship while drivers Giovinazzi and Raikkonen are 16th and 17th respectively in the drivers’ standings.
Williams are bottom of the constructors’ championship with neither Latifi or Russell yet scoring a point in their F1 careers.