Sauber will discuss the 2022 driver line up in September and October
Sauber boss, Fredrick Vasseur has said that he will discuss the 2022 F1 driver line-up with partners Alfa Romeo and Ferrari in the latter half of the season. Alfa Romeo Sauber has started this season decently with Antonio Giovinazzi finishing in the points in Monaco. Its performance has improved thanks to the new Ferrari engine which was one of the major factors behind the decline of the team in 2020.
Sauber has Alfa Romeo and Ferrari has partners which were both parts of FCA formerly and still are controlled by the Agnelli family who has controlling stakes in Stellantis (the parent of Alfa Romeo) and Ferrari.
“Ferrari and Alfa Romeo are our partners. So we’re going to discuss the driver issue with them. But that’s way too early. It is now important that our drivers concentrate on their job. We’ll see again in September or October,” Vasseur explained to German publication Auto Motor Und Sport.
While the Alfa Romeo partnership is a branding and marketing partnership, the one with Ferrari is a technical one with it being its major engine supplier and it controlling a driver seat. Giovinazzi is a graduate of the Ferrari driver academy (FDA_, while the 41-year-old Raikkonen transferred to Alfa Romeo from Ferrari switching with another FDA graduate, Charles Leclerc.
Raikkonen is the oldest driver in the sport and in October will be 42. His season so far hasn’t gone according to plan which could mean, this may be his last hurrah in F1. Considering, Giovinazzi is performing well, Raikkonen could be replaced by two stellar FDA drivers who are waiting in the wings – Callum Illott and Robert Shwartzman. Illott was the runner up to Mick Schumacher in the 2020 F2 season but since Schumacher, the son of the great Michael Schumacher, was also an FDA graduate, he was elevated to F1 with another Ferrari partner, Haas.
If Raikkonen’s seat becomes vacant, Illott would be in pole position to get the seat considering he’s already testing for Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. That being said, Shwartzman is seen as a bigger talent and if he performs well he could also find a seat.
If this were to happen, the strength of the FDA will be at the fore in 2022 with Leclerc, Schumacher, Giovinazzi and either Shwartzman or Illott taking part in the grid.