NOVEMBER 4, 2021
Giovinazzi axe a matter of time
One of F1's most respected and longest-serving journalists thinks Antonio Giovinazzi's days at Alfa Romeo are numbered.
Days ago, Formula 1 veteran David Coulthard called the 27-year-old Italian a "quality driver" who may nevertheless struggle to keep his seat for 2022.
That is because Guanyu Zhou's Chinese backers are offering Alfa-branded Sauber $30 million, Formula 2 star Oscar Piastri is also in the running, and Sauber team boss Frederic Vasseur favours his protege Theo Pourchaire.
According to Roger Benoit, who has reported on F1 for decades, "Italy has to prepare for the fact that they will be without a grand prix driver" in 2022.
"Giovinazzi's dismissal is only a matter of time," he told the Swiss newspaper Blick.
Benoit claims Formula 1 has "simply overwhelmed" the Ferrari-linked driver, and also committed a "mortal sin" in Turkey that Vasseur "will not forgive him for".
That 'sin' was Giovinazzi failing to obey a team order to let teammate Kimi Raikkonen past, which cost the Hinwil based team a points scoring result.
"When the team orders came again in Austin, Giovinazzi obeyed immediately. Otherwise he would have been sacked," Benoit claims.
"But when Bottas comes to the team as the clear number 1 in 2022, Vasseur does not need a rebellious driver next to him, but a helper who also scores points."
Benoit claims Vasseur will make his decision about Valtteri Bottas' teammate in December, after watching the final rounds of the Formula 2 season.