Unsurprisingly, Alfa Romeo Racing, the Formula 1 team managed by the Sauber Group has announced that they will keep both of their current drivers for next season, unlike Haas F1, who will give their two mildly desirable seats to new players after parting with Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.
Alfa Romeo is not having a great 2020, being eighth in the championship in front of Haas and Williams at the moment. Just like Haas, the team is using Ferrari’s power units, which are far from performing as they should be.
This sort of job security can be reassuring for Alfa’s 26-years-old driver Antonio Giovinazzi, as well as for a certain former world champion called Kimi Räikkönen, who will celebrate his 42nd birthday on Oct. 17, 2021. What’s great about the most seasoned player in the field is that he still knows what he is doing, overtaking up to 11 cars in a single lap, if such opportunity arises.
Nicknamed the Iceman, Kimi Räikkönen became a regular driver for Sauber-Petronas in 2001, carrying only 23 car races under his belt. He moved to McLaren Mercedes in 2002 and became a title contender by finishing runner-up in the championship to Michael Schumacher in 2003 and Fernando Alonso in 2005. Once he got hired by Ferrari for 2007, he scored his first world championship straight away.
Räikkönen knows how to go fast, how to make a comeback, and how to handle both fans and media to remain one of the most beloved characters in F1 ever. While being a fan of snowboarding, ice hockey, motocross, chicken noodles, Eminem—among other earthly delights—Räikkönen is also appreciated for bringing “his incredible mix of skill, racecraft and technical knowledge to the team”, according to Alfa. Officially, the Finn had this to say about staying for at least one more round.
“Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen is more than a team to me, it is like a second family. 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. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe in the team’s project and in what we feel we can achieve together. This is a team that values hard work over words and this fits well with my style: I am looking forward to next year and hopefully making some steps forward towards the front of the midfield with the team.”
Unofficially, my theory is that his remark was closer to something like: “Yeah guys, it’s okay, let’s do it.”
By a single point that’s mostly irrelevant at 16th in the drivers’ championship, Antonio Giovinazzi is ahead of Räikkönen. The Italian driver had this to say:
“Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen has been my home in Formula One for the last two seasons and I am happy this relationship can continue for one more year. 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: 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. There will be a lot of continuity between this season and the next one, so everything we work on between now and the end of the year will already count for next, and we are ready to give it all we have.”
Onwards and upwards, we wish good luck to both Alfa Romeo drivers and the entire Sauber team behind them. Ferrari’s engines can not perform as poorly in 2021 as this year, can they? Somebody call the Vatican.
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