Alfa Romeo responded to criticism from fans suggesting they were ruthless with their driver replacements, saying they found it hard to bid farewell to them.

Alfa Romeo revamped their driver lineup for 2022, with Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou replacing Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi. Raikkonen retired from the sport at the end of the 2021 season, while Giovinazzi was let go for the Chinese rookie.

Many fans were quick to call the team out for their decision, saying that Bottas and Zhou were signed keeping in mind money and PR. They were especially upset with Giovinazzi being let go for a rookie with huge sponsorship packages from China behind him.

Having heard the backlash, Alfa Romeo responded to criticism from fans suggesting they were ruthless with their driver replacements, saying it was very hard to proceed with their decisions.

“With drivers, it’s never an easy decision,” team principal Fred Vasseur told GPFans.

Guanyu Zhou is interviewed. Austria July 2021.
Zhou (pictured) is a signing that created controversy. Source: planetf1.com

“You will find some of my colleagues that would say it was an easy choice, it was obvious, but it’s never obvious because it’s a crucial choice.”

All angles covered

“We need to think about this, how to attract sponsors and the combination is quite complex, but the atmosphere into the team is an important parameter,” the team boss explained.

“I’m not speaking about speed. For sure, it’s one of the parameters. But it’s how the guy will fit with the team, at which stage of his career he is at and where he wants to go, the collaboration between the two cars, the two drivers that you have.

“For sure, you have different aspects about performance. The speed, the sponsor, we need to have the budget.

“It’s a very complex decision, but it’s never an easy one,” he concluded.

Read more: Alfa Romeo backs Zhou to help it join Mercedes and Red Bull on F1’s “front page”

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