Alfa Romeo Racing should be aiming to take the fight to the McLaren F1 Team across the second half of the 2019 Formula 1 season, according to team principal Frédéric Vasseur.
Kimi Räikkönen is on a strong run of form, finishing inside the points in each of the past five Grand Prix, although both he and team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi fell out of the top ten in the German Grand Prix thanks to post-race penalties, penalties that Alfa Romeo are appealing.
Giovinazzi has had a much less successful 2019 to date, with only one point to his name after the first twelve races, but for Alfa Romeo to succeed in improving on their seventh place in the Constructors’ Championship, Vasseur says it is important both drivers finish inside the top ten with aims of fighting with and beating McLaren, who currently hold fourth in the standings.
“Consistency is important in the middle of the pack,” said Vasseur to Motorsport.com. “I think McLaren is always there also, but I hope we are able to fight with McLaren in the second part of the season.
“We have to be consistent. We have to get the cars into the points every single weekend, and try to do it with two cars. I think we can be optimistic. If you compare with Barcelona, we were far away, and we’ve improved consistently from that stage of the season.
“We are pushing hard to bring updates, and we have to keep the same path for the last part of the season.”
Vasseur was pleased that Räikkönen was able to bring home a seventh-place finish in the most recent race at the Hungaroring, a venue where he did not think the team would be a competitive outfit.
He also cited getting passed Romain Grosjean early on benefited the Finn as the Haas F1 Team driver’s race pace was likely to be weaker than the Qualifying pace he had shown the day before.
“I was not very optimistic before Budapest, because I think it’s not our best layout,” said Vasseur. “But Kimi did a fantastic job in the race. The pace was there from the beginning.
The key for us was to have a good start and be in front of Grosjean. We knew that the race pace would be difficult for Haas, and it was important for us to be in front of them. Kimi was even holding off a Mercedes at the end, it was quite a nice situation. At least were able to keep [Valtteri] Bottas behind for five or six laps.
“I think it was a good step forward again for us. It’s a great feeling before the break for the whole team. We had a tough time in the last two weeks.”