Tension keeps growing in the Alfa Romeo’s box as driver Antonio Giovinazzi was left, once again, disappointed by the strategies decided by the team during the Mexican Grand Prix.
Antonio Giovinazzi quickly became one of the most discussed drivers of the 2021 season thanks to his often-surprising exploit in qualifying, which led him to consistently outqualify his teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
However, Antonio was rarely able to finalize his Saturday performance during the races due to a combination of bad luck and costly mistakes from the team, the latter being the absurd strategy call during the Mexican Grand Prix.
The Italian driver started the Grand Prix from 11th but immediately climbed up to 6th due to the accidents involving various drivers during the first lap as well as his now proven ability to conquer positions at the start. He was then able to fend off from Sebastian Vettel to remain in 7th before being instructed to box on lap 16.
To understand how unusual and even senseless the strategy call was, it must be understood that Pirelli believed the pit window to be between lap 22 and 32. Moreover, Giovinazzi was still in a good condition with Vettel not getting any closer.
After the pit stop, the Alfa Romeo driver was stuck behind Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas and couldn’t move past the obviously more performant car. Dirty air damaged his tyres and at that point, his race had been completely ruined. Finally, the Italian finished the race in 11th without conquering any points.
Unfortunately, the Mexican Grand Prix hasn’t been the first time Alfa Romeo provided Antonio Giovinazzi with reckless tactical decisions but this time the Italian was finally able to speak up and ironically thanked the box for the strategy at the end of the race.
Later on, when asked by Sky Sports Italy about whether he feels like Alfa Romeo is trying to sabotage him, Giovinazzi admitted: “I didn’t want to believe it until now but today I’m really disappointed”.
Italian sportsmen sided with the driver through a social campaign that was shared by the likes of Chelsea player Jorginho, showing his pride in Giovinazzi. Support for the Italian also came from the Elkann family, as Lapo Elkann, brother of the president of Ferrari John Elkann, tweeted after the race: “I have great respect for Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen Team Principal but seeing an F1 team damaging his driver is really sad and enraging. I stand with Giovinazzi, an Italian talent who deserves the fans’ affection. “.
Furthermore, if it’s now clear Antonio Giovinazzi is set to leave Alfa Romeo at the end of 2021, Alfa Romeo Team Principal Frederic Vasseur announced to Canal+ during a Twitch live the decision regarding who will side Valtteri Bottas at Alfa Romeo in 2022 has been taken and the announcement is set for the 16th of November. Hence, Guanyu Zhou seems set to debut in Formula 1 in 2022. Meanwhile, the hypothesis on Giovinazzi’s future is that the driver might join Ferrari in its alternative programs, such as GT or Hypercars.
Whatever the political situation at Alfa Romeo is, it remains the fact that a driver that worked hard for the team should be treated with more respect in what could be his last season at the pinnacle of F1.