The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team was not pleased with a comment Antonio Giovinazzi made in a social media post following the team’s decision to axe him at the end of 2021.
Earlier this month, it was announced that the Italian would be replaced by Guanyu Zhou at Alfa Romeo next year.
Zhou comes with significant Chinese financial backing, and Giovinazzi alluded to this in a social media post following news of the signing.
“F1 is emotion, talent, cars, risk, speed. But when money rules it can be ruthless,” Giovinazzi wrote in an Instagram post.
Asked about this comment, Alfa Romeo team principal Frédéric Vasseur admitted that he was “not very happy” with Giovinazzi’s remark.
“You can imagine that I was not very happy,” Vasseur said, as quoted by RacingNews365.com.
“But on the other hand, I can understand that it was quite emotional for him. We had a discussion. Now he knows perfectly that he has to stay focused on the next few events.
“That will be important for him. Motorsport is a small world. If he wants to come back in F1, he has to show that the motivation is there.”
Vasseur went on to stress that the decision to sign Zhou wasn’t purely motivated by money, though he admitted that it was a factor.
“The first criteria is the performance of the team,” he said.
“That means to be performing you need to have good drivers, good technicians, good engineers, a good feeling from the drivers and a good budget.
“It was a pillar of the decision for sure, and it was always clear like this because we want to be at the cost cap. It’s the best way for us to be performing, but it’s not the only one.
“I think Zhou is doing a very good job in Formula 2, and I think that everybody is underestimating the delivery of performance and the job done by Zhou this season.”