Alfa Romeo has announced it will retain Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi as its driver line-up for a third consecutive another season.
Raikkonen will extend his Formula 1 career to a 19th campaign having broken Rubens Barrichello’s record for most grand prix starts at the Nurburgring.
The 2007 world champion rejoined the Hinwil-based team, who handed him his debut as Sauber back in 2001, in 2019 from Ferrari, and will be 42 by the end of next year.
Giovinazzi’s future had been unclear with Ferrari’s junior drivers and free agents such as Sergio Perez linked with the second seat.
But the Italian, who made two stand-in appearances for the team in 2017 before joining full-time last season, brushed off the competition to keep hold of the drive.
“Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN is more than a team to me, it is like a second family,” Raikkonen said.
“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.”
Giovinazzi felt his performances this year had been enough to repay Alfa’s faith in him having claimed two of the team’s three points finishes in 2020.
“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,” Giovinazzi said.
“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.”
Team boss Frederic Vasseur praised both drivers’ involvement in the team despite a difficult season with only five points from 12 races.
“I am very pleased for the team to continue working with Kimi and Antonio for another season,” Vasseur said.
“Kimi is a driver who needs no introduction: his talent has been clear to everyone since 2001 and I still see the passion and motivation in him every time I see him at work. He can be trusted to deliver 100% of what the car can produce and he is a true leader for the people working around him.
“Antonio finished last year’s campaign strongly and he picked up where he left off and kept improving throughout 2020. From the track to the engineering briefings, Antonio has played a crucial role for our team and he has thoroughly deserved a new contract for 2021.
“His work ethic, commitment to the team and contagious enthusiasm are a huge asset for Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN.”
The announcement has all but ruled out Formula 2 championship leader Mick Schumacher from joining the Swiss team. The German had been due to drive the C39 in FP1 at the Eifel Grand Prix, but the session was rained off.
Schumacher had been favourite to land the seat Giovinazzi occupies, but he is now set to join fellow Ferrari customer team Haas.