Alfa’s F1 2020 is barely a “good year” for team growth

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Last year, Alfa was hampered by the declining performance of Ferrari’s powertrain, as was its other customer Haas.

The Maranello engine has improved a lot this year, and Alfa has taken a step towards the chassis as well. Overall, the team made the biggest improvement in lap time year over year compared to the leaders, although so far they’ve only scored two points.

Speaking to Autosport in an exclusive interview, Vasseur said running to the back of the field last year was “tough”, but it still motivated his team heading into this season.

“As a team we have to focus on what we can handle and what is in our hands,” said Vasseur.

“And we have to stay focused on developing the chassis, on the drivers, trying to get the most out of the car every weekend.

MORE: Why Alfa boss is ready to secure a stronger future for F1

“Of course, it’s much more difficult when you’re 18th or 19th. At some point, you might lose motivation or pay less attention to the little details than when you are fighting for Q3. It’s always a lot easier to get the best of everyone when fighting for the front rather than the back.

“But I think it was a good exercise, honestly, even if it was hard! Everyone has remained very motivated and we have already taken a step forward in the latter part of the season last year.

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal, Alfa Romeo Racing, at the team managers press conference

Photo by: FIA Pool

“On the chassis side, I think we are on the way to the last stages of 2020, because in the last five or six races, we have taken a good step forward.

“And I think we’ve made a good aero package based on the new regulations, and with the step forward on the engine, we’re in a lot better shape than in 2020.”

Alfa is one of the teams that have been forced to change their rear wing in order to meet the FIA’s more stringent deflection test, which goes into effect this weekend in France.

The team had to divert resources from their 2022 project in order to pass the test, much to Vasseur’s frustration.

“The philosophy of F1 and the mentality of F1 is to be at the limit in every area,” he said. “And when you have a rule and you allow an X deviation for a certain load, each team’s job is to do it to gain weight, to gain in each area.

“If they come in and say, ‘It’s not the same load, it’s 50% more,’ because it is here, you’ve gone out. This means that as a small team we are in trouble.

“We had to find solutions, we had to stop other developments for next year, simply because we had to manufacture new products. I don’t want to go into detail, but it’s a decent part of the package.

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing C41

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing C41

Photo By: Zak Mauger / Motorsport images

“I think it’s the same question, the same problem, for the big teams. They’re struggling with the cost cap, and we’re struggling with the budget. “

Like Red Bull boss Christian Horner Vasseur believes the focus should now be on forward wing movement.

“We have exactly the same approach, collectively, on the front wing. If you compare the warping of the front wing, that will be the next topic on the table, ”he said.

“Because it’s exactly the same story. And the front wing, the impact on performance is much more, because you also change the aerodynamic balance.

“I watched a few videos, and the front wing movement on some cars is mega. I’m not complaining, because there is a test, and they fill out the test. If they don’t, they are out.

“But do we also need to change the test on the front wing?” Or you could say that if someone is not able to have the minimum weight, they change their weight?

“You can’t complain about the teams because everyone is playing their own game. And if someone feels that another team has an advantage, they will fight them.

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