Alfa Romeo wants "clearer picture" from F2 before naming F1 line-up

Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur says he is waiting for a "clear picture" from the Formula 2 championship before deciding on who fills his team's second Formula 1 seat.

Theo Pourchaire, ART Grand Prix,  Guanyu Zhou, Uni-Virtuosi Racing

The team announced Valtteri Bottas for next year on Monday and, with the announcements of George Russell at Mercedes and Alex Albon's move to Williams following that, the second Alfa seat remains the biggest question mark of the silly season.

Vasseur is no longer contractually committed to take a Ferrari Driver Academy member and, while incumbent Antonio Giovinazzi could still retain the seat, the team is keeping its options open.

The Italian is understood to still be Ferrari’s preferred option, although there have been suggestions that Mick Schumacher could be switched across from Haas.

Alpine junior Guanyu Zhou is understood to be Giovinazzi’s main competition, and has a significant budget from China behind him.

Zhou currently lies second on the F2 standings, but the series still has half its season to run, with four race weekends remaining at Monza, Sochi, Jeddah and Abu Dhabi - meaning the season's results will not be decided until December 12.

Although he didn’t name Zhou, Vasseur made it clear that he is waiting for the F2 season to develop: “The choice is important. We have some young kids that need to do more races. And we won't be able to have a clear picture before.”

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Vasseur suggested early in the Zandvoort weekend that he was wary of taking a rookie due to a lack of testing, but having confirmed Bottas as his lead driver he now admits that it is a possibility.

He is keen to eventually run protege and ART driver Theo Pourchaire, but he has previously indicated that 2022 would be too early for the 18-year-old. Pourchaire currently lies sixth in the F2 championship, but could yet move up the order.

The chance for Nyck de Vries, who missed out on the Williams seat that went to Alex Albon, appears to have receded.

Théo Pourchaire, Alfa Romeo

Théo Pourchaire, Alfa Romeo

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

“Everything is open, including Antonio,” Vasseur told “Antonio is doing a good job. But I think that to be able to recruit and to welcome Valtteri is a huge opportunity for us.

“Then it doesn't matter if the teammate is a rookie or an experienced guy, we will benefit of the experience and the speed of Valtteri.

"I won't make any comment on who is on the list and who is not. On some of them it's looks a bit difficult due to the link they have with engine suppliers.

“We have a contract with Ferrari, and it looks difficult to do these kinds of deals, or impossible. And let's see about the others.”

Vasseur suggested that Giovinazzi, who qualified seventh at Zandvoort, still has a chance to justify retaining the seat.

“I think that with Antonio, let's see over the next two or three events,” said Vasseur.

“But perhaps he has turned the page of the past, and this situation could be a good wake-up call also. I want to have a clear picture before I take any decisions with my shareholders.”

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