Alfa Romeo's Team Principal and CEO Frederic Vasseur talked about how the team is working to prepare the 2022 season under the new regulations.
An important distraction from projecting the new challenger could have been the interest, and consequent negotiations with American motorsport brand Andretti for the purchase of Sauber's majority stake that happened at the end of the last season.
Andretti was interested in having again a F1 presence alongside the other series where they compete, which include FE, Indycar, with championship contender Colton Herta rumoured to take a seat had the deal been signed, and Extreme E.
However, an agreement between the parts was never reached due to "control issues", in Micheal Andretti's own words, and Alfa Romeo went on to sign 2021 F2 championship runner up and first ever Chinese F1 driver Guanyu Zhou to partner Valtteri Bottas, who left Mercedes after five years.
Vasseur explained that such talks with the Americans didn't stop or delay the project and development of the new car, as it didn't impact that side of the team, while he was the one to be "distracted" by the situation, as he said to motorsport.com:
"We didn't stop at all the technical side, and it didn't slow down at all the development, that's for sure. On some discussions, on sponsors, drivers and so on, we had to be a bit present, but at the end, it won't change the situation," he added.
The only effect on the preparation of the new season was that some "decisions", especially in regards to sponsor deals and the other driver after Bottas's signing, had to be delayed as they could have been significantly impacted by an effectively secured deal: "It had no impact, except that we postponed some decisions."
The TP went on to explain that it didn't affect negatively no one's work, as, when he was asked on whether the talks were removing the team's focus from the upcoming rules switch, he said: "No - it was a distraction for me!"
What should be expected from the Italian-Swiss team next season? With two newly appointed drivers after three years sticking to the same line-up, and an helpful financial boost from the new sponsors brought in by them, Vasseur believes it'll be a "step by step" improvement to bring Alfa Romeo back at the top, and not an immediate upturn.
"For next year, it's a new project, developing under the cost cap. We have a new line-up. We'll have a new engine from Ferrari. We are trying to put everything together, but everybody is doing the same."
"Everybody is trying to improve on the line-up, everybody is trying to improve on the engine, everybody is recruiting. And it's probably the nicest part of your job, everybody is focused on performance, and convinced that we will do a better job tomorrow. It's the main motivation."
While it's hard to forecast how the car will perform, the whole team believes that steps forward have been made since last season's mere 13 points:
"At the end, you will have someone P1 and someone P10. We'll have good results and bad results. The most important thing is that we as a company, and from the shareholders to the guys at the factory, everybody is convinced that we are going in the right direction."
"This is important for me, because we need the support from every stakeholder," he remarked in the end.