Vasseur: Giovinazzi Spa crash almost cost him his seat

Antonio Giovinazzi’s late crash out of the points in the Belgian Grand Prix last year could have cost him his Alfa Romeo drive, team boss Frederic Vasseur says.

Vasseur: Giovinazzi Spa crash almost cost him his seat

F1 rookie Giovinazzi had a tough first half of his debut full-season as Alfa teammate Kimi Raikkonen racked up an impressive tally, but looked set to bounce back with an impressive drive into the points at Spa.

Giovinazzi then crashed out on his penultimate lap, amplifying the pressure to keep his seat for 2020, before he recovered strongly one week later at his and the team’s home race in Italy, scoring points in ninth place.

“It [the crash at Spa] was a big shock for everybody in the team because it was a good opportunity,” Vasseur told Motorsport.com. “Antonio came back from nowhere and on one of the last laps he had the crash.

“We had a tough discussion with Antonio, because these kind of things can decide your career. We were thinking about the future. We had to sit down the week after and we had to discuss about the situation, and he had a very good reaction.”

Vasseur said he was wary of the impact the Italian Grand Prix could have on Giovinazzi, who was ending an eight-year wait for a home driver at Monza.

However, Vasseur was impressed by how Giovinazzi handled the circumstances that made Italy the “most difficult” race for his driver.

“A lot of pressure, tons of guests, Alfa Romeo's home race, he will have the press conference so plenty of questions about Spa,” said Vasseur. “OK, so now it's time to react. I think he did a very good job, the pressure was there.

“In Monza and Singapore he did well – it was good to have Antonio leading the race. It was a very good reaction.”

Giovinazzi’s form in the second half of the season was much stronger than the first half, particularly his consistency in races. Vasseur said that was key to the Ferrari-backed driver proving he deserved the seat alongside Raikkonen for 2020.

“In my mind it was very important how Antonio reacted in Monza,” he reiterated. “That was the real push.

“The issue for Antonio was we were down on performance when he was on top. You can be in front of your teammates but [it is noticed less] if it's for P14 or P15. If it's sixth or seventh, everyone's speaking about you.”

That was because Giovinazzi’s upturn in form coincided with Alfa’s performance compared to its midfield rivals dipping, so he struggled to translate his improvement into significant points before he finished fifth in the chaotic Brazilian Grand Prix.

“One thing is to show to the team and the other one is to score points because for you, for the paddock, everybody is just focused on results,” said Vasseur.

“It is difficult to have a proper analysis if you're not involved in the day-by-day. Somehow you relieve a weight from the shoulders.”

Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Sauber C38

Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Sauber C38

Photo by: Alessio Morgese / Luca Rossini

shares
comments
Verstappen will "speed up" Albon's Red Bull adaptation

Previous article

Verstappen will "speed up" Albon's Red Bull adaptation

Next article

Stella promoted amid McLaren F1 restructuring

Stella promoted amid McLaren F1 restructuring
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Antonio Giovinazzi
Teams Alfa Romeo
Author Scott Mitchell
The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke Prime

The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke

Pierre Gasly has driven superbly since demotion from Red Bull in 2019, but the team formerly known as Toro Rosso has come on strong too – building a car that can often challenge Ferrari and McLaren. Here Gasly reveals to ALEX KALINAUCKAS how AlphaTauri has given him the tools needed to rebuild his reputation

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Prime

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to Stuart Codling, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion.

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean? Prime

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021