Vasseur hints that Giovinazzi could be retained by Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo Team Principal, Fred Vasseur has hinted that Antonio Giovinazzi could retain his drive with the team for 2020.

With Kimi Raikkonen under contract for 2020, Alfa Romeo still have to decide who will take the second seat at the Swiss-Italian squad for next season.

Giovinazzi had a difficult start in his first full F1 season, but has improved in recent races and has out-qualified Raikkonen in the last two Grand Prix in addition to finishing ahead of him in two of the last three races.

With only a few seats remaining on the grid for next year, there has been increased interest regarding who will get the second seat at Alfa with Nico Hulkenberg rumoured to be interested in a seat at the team, having lost his drive at Renault.

But in Friday’s press conference at the Japanese Grand Prix, Vasseur confirmed that he is confidence in Giovinazzi’s abilities.

“We will take the [driver] decision quite soon but honestly, if you have a look at the last event I think that Antonio is doing a very strong job,” commented Vasseur.

“He was matching Kimi in the last six or seven qualifyings in a row. He was in front in Sochi.

“OK, the first lap was not a good one for us but he’s doing the job and he’s improving step-by-step,”

The pressure is on for Giovinazzi to perform for the remainder of the season, but he got off to a tricky start to his Japanese Grand Prix weekend, ending the first session last before finishing free practice two in 15th, two tenths shy of his team-mate in 11th.

Although the Italian had a difficult first practice session, Vasseur confirmed this was as a result of an issue with the car and that he is happy the 25-year-old will be more competitive during the weekend.

“This morning we had an issue on the car and he was not able to show the pace,” added Vasseur.

“He’s doing the job, he’s improving and I’m very confident with Antonio.”