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.

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.

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.”

shares
comments

Related video

Leclerc insists Ferrari F1 engine issues are "nothing too big"
Previous article

Leclerc insists Ferrari F1 engine issues are "nothing too big"

Next article

Why Mercedes is pleased despite Verstappen starting well ahead in Mexico

Why Mercedes is pleased despite Verstappen starting well ahead in Mexico
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Plus

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Autosport heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Plus

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Plus

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. MARK GALLAGHER ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022