Antonio Giovinazzi to stay at Alfa Romeo in blow for Nico Hulkenberg
Giovinazzi to continue Kimi link-up, Hulkenberg now set for F1 exit?
Last Updated: 04/11/19 4:20pm
Antonio Giovinazzi has retained his Alfa Romeo seat alongside Kimi Raikkonen for the 2020 F1 season, the team have confirmed.
The renewal of the Italian driver, who has scored four points in his rookie season, is bad news for Nico Hulkenberg as the German was holding out for the Alfa drive after being axed by Renault.
"I am very happy to be staying with the team for 2020," said Giovinazzi, who was a Ferrari reserve before joining the Alfa team.
"I am grateful for the incredible level of support I received in my first full season in Formula One: everyone in the team has stuck by my side since I joined and I am really looking forward to continuing our journey together.
"We learned a lot this year and I am confident we can make a big step forward next season. I won't be a rookie anymore so there won't be any excuses for me: I want to be competitive right from the start of the championship and repay the confidence the team has shown in me."
Raikkonen, who has outscored Giovinazzi by 25 points in 2019 so far, will once again be Giovinazzi's team-mate next year.
"Antonio has done really well this year and I am extremely pleased to be able to confirm he will stay with Alfa Romeo Racing for 2020," said team boss Fred Vasseur.
"The way he has integrated into the team and has consistently improved throughout his first full season in the sport are very promising and we cannot wait to unlock his full potential as we continue to work together.
"Antonio has emerged as a very quick driver, even alongside as tough a benchmark as Kimi, and we expect him to develop even further as his experience grows.
"His technical feedback, work ethics and positive approach will help us continue to push our team forward, and so will the consistency of an unchanged line-up for next season."
Giovinazzi's new deal means there are only four seats left unconfirmed for 2020, and three of those are in the Red Bull family - expected to be filled by Alex Albon, Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat.
The other is at Williams, who have been distant backrunners this season.
Hulkenberg has been in F1 since 2010, but after losing his 2020 Renault seat to Esteban Ocon the German said he wouldn't consider the Williams drive. That seat looks set to be taken by F2 frontrunner Nicholas Latifi.