Kimi Räikkönen returns to the scene of his memorable final Grand Prix victory with Scuderia Ferrari this weekend, but as good as that memory is for the Finn, he knows the importance of returning his current Alfa Romeo Racing team to the points at the Circuit of the Americas.
Räikkönen won the United States Grand Prix twelve months ago, holding off the challenge of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton for his twenty-first career victory, but his recent form has seen him fail to finish inside the points in any of the races since the summer break in August.
Last weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Räikkönen failed to finish, his second retirement in four races, and his aim this weekend in Austin is to bring home some much needed points for his team.
“I have good memories from Austin, especially last year’s race, but that doesn’t really matter when I step into the car this weekend,” says Räikkönen. “Every new race is different and we need to focus on doing our job if we want to get some points.”
Team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi is equally looking to rebound from a difficult Mexican Grand Prix, which was hampered by a pit stop that saw his right rear wheel fail to be attached properly during his pit stop. The Italian currently sits eighteenth in the Drivers’ Championship with only four points to his name, the last that came in the Singapore Grand Prix in September.
“We’re back in the car this weekend, an opportunity to improve on last week and have a competitive race,” said Giovinazzi.
“We know that to be fighting at the front of the current midfield we have to deliver a perfect weekend and we weren’t able to do so in Mexico, but this is a new race and we will keep pushing as hard as we can.”
Frédéric Vasseur, the Team Principal at Alfa Romeo, admits the Mexican Grand Prix last weekend did not go as the team were expecting but there were still some positives to take from the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, positives he hopes can help the team move forward this weekend in Texas.
“The race in Mexico didn’t go how we expected, but we must not forget it also brought some positives,” said Vasseur. “We have made some steps forward compared to previous races and we need to keep building on those to be a bit more competitive, starting in the United States.
“Our objectives remain the same, to fight for a place in the top ten, and we know what we have to do to get there.”