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F1 | Vasseur: ''I think it was the right decision for us'' not to develop the 2021 car

Alfa Romero team principal Fred Vasseur discusses how the early decision to stop development on the car in 2021 will lead to improvements and positive changes for the team in the 2022 season.

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F1 | Vasseur: ''I think it was the right decision for us'' not to develop the 2021 car
Fuente imagen: Hasan Bratic - MotorLat

Alfa Romeo is not having one of its strongest seasons this year but they feel that the sacrifices they made this year for the 2021 season will pay off for the 2022 season. The team is currently in ninth place in the constructors' standings behind the Williams team after Hungary and only ahead of Haas

In an interview with Motorsport.comFred Vasseur talks about why the decision to stop developing the 2021 car this season was the right choice. 

"I would love for the team to score more points," said the Frenchman.

 "We've made some big efforts inside the team, but the main reason that we are losing a little bit in performance from the beginning of the season is because we decided to switch, from January, to 100 percent on 2022.

"When I see the updates from the other teams, even if they all say that they switched to the 2022 car, they have updates every single weekend!

"But when we took the decision I knew that if you switch 100 percent to the next year's car, then you won't develop the 2021 car. And that's the case.

"But I think it was the right decision for us, because where we were last year, if we keep the same car and continued to invest and develop it, I'm not sure that it makes complete sense in terms of championship position.

"If you have a look at the gap to Toro Rosso [AlphaTauri] or Renault [Alpine], the gap is huge, but I'm really convinced that it was the right decision.

"We knew that there was an upside and a downside, but now you have to deal with the downside."

Vasseur also mentions that although the engine is frozen for the 2021 season there is still room for improvement. 

"We won't go back into the windtunnel for sure, and the engine is frozen,"

"But as a team we have plenty of room for improvement.

"If you have a look at the comparison of our drivers, one is more performing in qualifying, the other one in the race. And we have to get the best from both of them.

"With track operations, I'm sure we have room for improvement, just like in terms of tyre management, set up of the car and on every single topic that you have to deal on track.

"This is important for me, because all the improvement that we will do as a team on this side, it's also probably what you can carry over for next year.

"We have room for improvement and we are not speaking about seconds. Very often between P8, P9 and P14 you have just a couple of tenths. I want to keep everybody under pressure and continue to push in the same direction."

The 2022 cost cap will also provide an opportunity for the team and Alfa's team boss believes that they are in a positive place for next year. 

"2022 will be the first season with the car developed under the cost cap, from scratch.

"I would say that we are still so far below the cost cap, and I'm hoping to be at the cost cap next year. It's a real opportunity for us.

"I'm considering it as an opportunity that will play to us; when the majority of the other teams will have to reduce the size of their team or change the approach or do it differently.

"We are still in the direction to increase the size, the capacity, the headcount. It means that we are still with a positive dynamic.

"The cost cap, for us, it's just the next step. And with the better prize fund distribution, it's also an opportunity for us. On the global picture I am more than positive.

"What is also very important is the team stability. We renewed the deal with Alfa Romeo, and I think that on every single area of the company we have the green lights.

Vasseur also acknowledges the frustration from his World Champion driver Kimi Räikkönen and that the team needs to have a better car that is quicker, but thinks it proves the Finn still cares. The Frenchman later mentions that there are some areas to improve on with the car. 

"I think when you are a racer, and Kimi is a racer and all the team is made of racers, the reaction, when you are struggling, and you're just out of the points, because two laps before the end we are P10... then the frustration is there," said Vasseur.

"We need to have a better car. We need to make the car quicker for sure. But we took a decision and it's not on the aero development that will still happen.

"But we have some topics to improve on the car, the setup or tyre management, to be quicker.

"You understand perfectly the frustration from the driver when he is in the car and he wants to do a better job.

"And I think it's a proof of motivation for me. So I'm okay with this."

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