After a difficult stint in 2020, where the team was able to score only 8 points and get to 8th place in the constructors' championship, the future seems a little brighter for the Alfa Romeo team. A big step forward taken during the winter led the team to be one of the surprises of pre-season testing, and the opportunity to prove it came in the Bahrain GP. Although Giovinazzi and Raikkonen were not able to score points during the race, they finished 11th and 12th and got a solid performance in the bag.
For the team principal Frederic Vasseur, it was just a confirmation of the good path they’ve been on. As he said in an interview after the race at Sakhir: "Tonight gave us a strong indication of the progress we have made in the last 12 months. We raced with authority, leaving the Alpines and an Aston Martin behind us and finishing on the tail of the other Aston. Even though we leave Bahrain with no points, we do so having reclaimed our place in the midst of the midfield – and results will surely come soon. We demonstrated to be able to fight in and around the top ten and we can look with optimism to the rest of the season. It was an eventful race, even though the low attrition rate – just two retirements – meant we had our work cut out when aiming for a place in the points.”
He added: “We take a lot of positives, however, knowing we can go to the next race in Imola, in two weeks, ready to battle again for a place in the top 10.”
Antonio Giovinazzi, the Italian driver representing the colours of Alfa, believes that 12th place was as much as he could hope for during Bahrain GP, but he’s been definitely optimistic for the upcoming races after he has seen the progress the team has made.
As he said: "I think today what we did was the maximum we could. AlphaTauri is still too fast for us, but we need to be happy because compared to last year we improved a lot. We are much closer to Alpine, to Aston Martin. So yeah, I think we can have more fun today.”
He added: "I think without that mistake (lengthy pitstop) maybe it was just good to be in front of Kimi, but not in the top 10.”
Although it is too early to judge, the GP at Sakhir has proved that the Alfa Romeo team was definitely able to tackle some of the issues that have been plaguing them during the unfortunate 2020 season. Will they be able to continue the performance and strive for the fight in the midfield?