Vasseur on Alfa’s “huge step” and vexing technical directives · RaceFans

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The opening races of the 2021 F1 season have been a combined bag for Alfa Romeo.

The crew has made clear progress when it comes to its outright efficiency, however doesn’t have the outcomes to indicate for it but. 9 races in they’ve two factors on the board – two lower than they managed over the identical run firstly of final season.

“It’s a little bit of a combined feeling,” crew principal Frederic Vasseur admits in an unique interview for RaceFans on the Purple Bull Ring. He says the crew has made “an enormous step ahead” in efficiency.

“In the present day we’re one p.c off the quickest. Final 12 months, we’re two p.c. It’s like this from the start of the season.”

This isn’t solely all the way down to the plain positive factors energy unit provider Ferrari has made in the course of the low season, he stresses. “A part of the job is coming from the PU, for certain. However I believe additionally on the chassis aspect we made a great job.”

A tricky penalty price the crew factors at Imola

For all this, outcomes have been frustratingly gradual to materialise. The 2 C41s occupied the primary locations outdoors the factors on the first race in Bahrain. Worse adopted in Imola, the place Kimi Raikkonen completed ninth on the highway however collected a 30-second time penalty for violating a rule which even the stewards admitted was considerably contradictory.

Since then Raikkonen and crew mate Antonio Giovinazzi have collected a degree every. But it’s clear Vasseur feels their efforts have been under-rewarded to date, and the crew is well-placed to capitalise on a day when the leaders hit bother.

“Now with the circumstances we wrestle to attain factors,” he says. “You could have zero DNFs from the start and even whenever you begin P12, P13, you end P11. However now we have to do the job to proceed like this, and it’ll occur that we’ll have extra chaotic races and we’re not so far-off off the Q3.”

The crew is in its third season with the identical driver line-up and Vasseur is happy together with his pair, significantly the positive factors Giovinazzi is making with expertise. He has solely began behind Raikkonen twice this 12 months, Vasseur factors out, “when he crashed in Baku and when he was blocked by Mazepin in Imola.

“He’s enhancing, the tempo goes up, however we all the time need to get extra and I’m all the time pushing them. It’s my job.”

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“I believe one of many problems with Antonio to date was he was far an excessive amount of into the comparisons with Kimi,” Vasseur provides. “Now he’s in a position to take the lead on a few of selections and say, ‘okay, I need to do that’. And for him, it was a step.”

Whereas Raikkonen has not fairly been on his crew mate’s tempo in qualifying, Vasseur has excessive reward for the 2007 champion’s Sunday performances.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Giovinazzi has impressed in qualifying

“ Kimi completely, he has big expertise and he’s doing a improbable job within the race to handle the scenario. He’s all the time in a position to do the proper job within the administration.”

Alfa Romeo has comfortably out-scored closest rivals Haas and Williams during the last two seasons. However the latter signalled within the earlier two races it might change into extra of a risk within the second half of the 12 months.

Vasseur’s crew has confronted the undesirable complication of being caught up within the row over ‘flexing’ rear wings – collateral harm within the battle between the championship leaders. The FIA launched a harder new check on rear wing flexing after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, and the Alfa Romeo boss made his frustration with the event clear.

“I’m not a giant fan of the change in the midst of the season as a result of we have been sticking to the foundations clearly,” he explains.

“We went to the scrutineering 10 occasions, it was all the time okay, we have been below the utmost deformation. And so they modified the load. They modified the by 50 p.c.

“This, for me, the DNA of F1 is to be on the restrict all over the place. When you’ve gotten a restrict on the burden you might be all the time on the restrict. And the DNA of each single crew member is to attempt to be on the restrict. Should you change the restrict, you might be out of the rule.”

Knee-jerk adjustments to the foundations are “a mistake”, he insists, drawing a comparability with Brawn GP’s well-known ‘double diffuser’, which it raced to championship victory in 2009 regardless of complaints from rival groups.

“Now we will have the identical dialogue for the entrance wing or we will have the identical discussions… We will’t add a TD each single Monday morning as a result of one thing occurred on Friday.

“When Brawn GP was champion, they didn’t change the regulation the primary Monday.”

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