Another Sunday with Alfa Romeo Racing getting close to a top ten finish, but unable to break into the points. Kimi Raikkonen finished 12th and teammate Antonio Giovinazzi closed on P15.
The Italian team showed it has the potential to fight with the cars in the midfield, but an unfortunate incident – a deflating tyre during a pit-stop – took Giovinazzi’s car from being deservedly in the battle for points; leaving both drivers just outside the positions that count.
Once again we put up a good fight in the midfield, but still just outside the points zone.— Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN (@alfaromeoracing) May 9, 2021
And so we keep on working hard in preparation for the next opportunity.
RAI ➡️ P12
GIO ➡️ P15#SpanishGP pic.twitter.com/va47mYgpgV
On Lap 8, the engine of Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri turned itself off, requiring the intervention of the safety car. Giovinazzi took the opportunity to dive into the pits, but a puncture on the Italian’s prepared tyre set forced the Alfa Romeo mechanics into a changeover, keeping Giovinazzi stopped for 35s.
The Italian said: “It was not an easy race, which was effectively compromised by the issue we had during the pit-stop. To lose all this time and a new set of tyres was a blow, especially as I had to follow a delta behind the Safety Car and couldn’t catch up with the pack”.
The Head of trackside engineering Xavi Pujoral commented on the issue: “It is a shame because we lost one set of tyres and a lot of time. Of course, this cost Antonio a lot in the race”.
But what happened exactly? Pujoral explained the team already identified the cause of the issue: “an operational problem”, as he defined it; yet he didn’t want to disclose further details on the matter.
“When the race started all tyres were fine, so it has occurred a couple of laps before the pit”; however, the mechanics in the garage spotted the puncture quite quickly so they avoided losing extra time.
“For sure this is something we can improve, that should not happen but at least we were able to recover”.
The main issue is that “our plan was to have the two mediums”; however, because of the puncture, Giovinazzi was forced to drive on a set of softs.
“Otherwise, we could have been fighting for the points because we were well-positioned”.
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen – the only driver to start the race on the medium tyres – had a very long first stint.
“We knew we were at the edge between one and two stops; looking at what some competitors were doing from lap 20ish, we knew where we needed to get to get to pursue one-stop only”, commented the Head of Track engineering.
“It was a bit painful for Kimi because he was in the middle of the traffic but considering the car we have, it was the only way to do it”.
Xevi Pujolar believes the team has shown potential to consistently fight for points – he is convinced the Italian team can pose a good challenge to both the French team Alpine and the fellow Italian-based AlphaTauri.
“We are in a close range at the moment, we can fight with them…Especially when there are races where tyre management is so important, we know Alpine is faster but we saw how they were losing a lot of pace at the end.
“We can fight with AlphaTauri as well”, added Pujolar, “today Gasly overtook Kimi but he was in the middle of the traffic… when we have free air in front, I think we can keep even Gasly behind”.
Pujolar is confident in the car’s potential as they are pushing for some more updates over the upcoming races.
“We still have some updates. We’ll have some new parts in the next few races. We are willing to close the gap, we are ready to fight with these teams for the top 10”
The next stop is Monte Carlo in two weeks, as Formula One return to the Principality for the first time in two years.
“It will be a challenge for everyone, so we need to see what competitors will do”.
The Friday [Thursday in Monaco] free practices – which are only one hour long, starting from this season – will imply very packed and busy schedules to allow the team to collect as much information as possible, concluded Pujolar.
“When everything is so tight, it will be challenging for sure, but I really like the track, so we’ll see”.