Alfa Romeo Racing has retained Antonio Giovinazzi for the 2020 F1 season alongside Kimi Raikkonen, it has been announced.

The 2020 F1 grid is near completion with Alfa Romeo confirming and retaining Giovinazzi alongside Raikkonen, following the US GP. For weeks, Frederic Vasseur has indicated of keeping the Italian despite speculations around other names.

After Renault opted to take in Esteban Ocon in place of Nico Hulkenberg for the 2020 F1 season, the German was in talks with Alfa Romeo but his chances looked bleak, considering the Ferrari influence within the team.

But with Giovinazzi now confirmed, Hulkenberg is more likely to leave F1. “I am very happy to be staying with the team for 2020,” said Giovinazzi. “I am grateful for the incredible level of support I received in my first full season in F1.

“Everyone in the team has stuck by my side since I joined and I am really looking forward to continuing our journey together. We learned a lot this year and I am confident we can make a big step forward next season.

“I won’t be a rookie anymore so there won’t be any excuses for me: I want to be competitive right from the start of the championship and repay the confidence the team has shown in me.” At the same time, Vasseur, Alfa Romeo, added:

“Antonio has done really well this year and I am extremely pleased to be able to confirm he will stay with Alfa Romeo Racing for 2020. The way he has integrated into the team and has consistently improved throughout his first full season in the sport are very promising and we cannot wait to unlock his full potential as we continue to work together.

“Antonio has emerged as a very quick driver, even alongside as tough a benchmark as Kimi, and we expect him to develop even further as his experience grows. His technical feedback, work ethics and positive approach will help us continue to push our team forward, and so will the consistency of an unchanged line-up for next season.”

Having made his debut in 2017, Giovinazzi had to wait for his full-time chance as Ferrari drafted Charles Leclerc in 2018. The Monegasque graduated to Ferrari, which paved way for Giovinazzi to get the Alfa Romeo seat for 2019.

It hasn’t been a smooth full debut season so far with just the three points finishes to be 18th in the drivers’ championship with four but off-late the Italian has out-qualified Raikkonen in multiple races and has looked good as well.

Here’s how the F1 US GP panned out