After finishing P8 in the 2020 constructor’s championship with a total of 8 points in the final standings, Alfa Romeo now wants to climb back and, that will, altogether with an upgraded 2021 challenger and a better engine provided by Ferrari is making the Hinwil-based-team start to dream. Having just closed a great performance and result at the Monaco GP where they scored the first point of their season with Antonio Giovinazzi’s P10 and a solid Kimi Raikkonen in P11, MotorLat was present in Alfa’s chief engineer Xevi Pujolar press conference, and said
“Obviously a good thing to score our first points. We had a strong race weekend with both cars in Q2, one car in Q3, which is a good step. And then in the first stint, we were ahead of Ocon and Stroll and we still had both cars there with Antonio and Kimi. We know that in Monaco if you play with the teammates you can take the control of the race. Antonio was managing the C5 tyres and we were looking at the pit window with Alonso, and if Antonio fell back Alonso for the rest of the race that would not have been good for us.”
“The degradation on the soft tyre was more than expected so it was not possible for us to extent staying out. Unfortunately, we had Ricciardo there as well. The plan was to put the hards, but in the end, Ocon decided to go for the medium and we went with the hard and I believe our decision was better.”
“But as you said, next race we will try to do one step more, to be P9 or P8, that’s the aim. We take it as a good and positive result because we achieved one point now and the Q3. The line is next race to do one more step.”
Alfa Romeo’s head of engineers answered the question about how did the team manage to improve at a track like this and what were the key things on good Sunday’s result.
“Yeah, for me this track is not too sensitive to the Power Unit. This track layout was a bit sensitive with the tyres, especially in Qualifying. Track temperatures change quite a lot. Two years ago if we were okay in Free Practice then towards Qualifying we didn’t manage to follow to Q3. We were better prepared this time and with a better understanding from FP1 to Qualifying and we consolidated the result.”
Pujolar also stated that the team “is still pushing step by step to close the gap with the competitors. We try to do better but the grid is so tight, everything makes a difference. So we’re definitely pushing,” he said when asked by MotorLat during Monaco’s evening.
After two whole years in the pinnacle of motorsport and in the strong and consistent beginning of his third season in Formula 1, are we seeing the best of Antonio Giovinazzi yet?
“He’s very good and very strong. Last year he already was starting to get strong in Qualifying now he’s being strong in all Qualifying and races. He is learning a lot as a driver, he’s consolidating and getting a greater driver. Today, we saw it at the first lap winning positions and then managing and fighting all the way through. So, happy he is becoming a strong driver.”
“But they’re both there, if you look, Antonio is great but it is not like Kimi isn’t strong. They were both in Q2 and the differences are very small. It is just that at the moment Antonio seems to find his extra in Qualifying but we are with both drivers pretty much there.”
Chief engineer Xevi Pujolar concluded by giving his feeling for the next championship event at Baku looking forward to June’s 6th weekend. “We’ll see, I think now if you look race 1 to race 5 we have been quite consistent. Of course, it will be a track where power sensitivity is quite high but we will be on the mix with Alpine and Aston Martin and hopefully be ahead. It is possible.”