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Formula 1 Mexican GP

Alfa Romeo expects 2022 F1 driver decision after Brazilian GP

Alfa Romeo expects to make a call on its second Formula 1 driver for 2022 after next week's Brazilian Grand Prix, following the collapse of the Andretti takeover deal.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing C41

Alfa Romeo expects to make a call on its second Formula 1 driver for 2022 after next week's Brazilian Grand Prix, following the collapse of the Andretti takeover deal.

While the Swiss-based squad has already signed Valtteri Bottas for 2022, a decision on who the Finn’s team-mate would be has dragged on for several weeks.

While F2 front runner Guanyu Zhou had been favourite for a while, the possibility of a buy-in by IndyCar team Andretti Autosport had put the driver matter on pause as its young charge Colton Herta emerged as a contender for an F1 switch.

But now Andretti’s talks with Alfa Romeo’s owners have ended, the driver situation has become a bit more simple.

Team boss Fred Vasseur now suggests that it will be a matter of days before Alfa Romeo makes the call, and thinks it will likely be made after next week’s race in Sao Paulo.

“We will take a decision now that we are a little bit less in the spotlight for different reasons,” Vasseur said in Mexico.

“We'll take a decision in the next couple of days, probably after Brazil.”

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal, Alfa Romeo Racing, and Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal, Alfa Romeo Racing, and Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

While Alpine Academy drivers Zhou and F2 points leader Oscar Piastri are among the contenders, Vasseur insists the team management won’t be rushed into making a decision.

“We have to stay calm with this,” he explained.

PLUS: How F2's biggest talent could be forced to spend 2022 on the bench

“It's an important choice, it's not an easy one. We'll take a decision soon and you will be informed as soon as the decision will be made.”

While current driver Antonio Giovinazzi is still holding out hope that his experience at the team can help his cause, Vasseur says he remains open-minded about how important it is to have some stability of drivers for next year.

“It's already a question to know if there is interest to change [both drivers] with the new regulation or if, with the new regulations, stability is important,” he said.

“We know that the preparations will be very short with the two times three days [of testing] and could eventually be less with a reliability or weather issue.

“It means that we have to be ready from the first day because we know perfectly that, in this kind of championship, it's very often on the first event that you can score the big points for a midfield team.

“It's true that it's [driver stability] a factor into the decision, but it's not the only one.”

Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing C41

Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing C41

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Vasseur not disappointed by Andretti deal collapse

While Vasseur was not involved directly in the talks between Andretti and Sauber’s senior management, he says that the decision by the Hinwil squad not let go of the team is actually a show of faith about how committed the current owners are.

Asked where the failed Andretti deal left Alfa Romeo, Vasseur said: “In a good shape.

“I think it's a very strong message that the current shareholders send to the company, and that it was really appreciated by everybody.

“It's also a huge pressure on your shoulders. All the team members and all the employees of the company, and the first one is myself, we are feeling the pressure, and I think it's a positive pressure to get results in the future.”

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