Formula 1

Alfa Romeo’s Frédéric Vasseur: “We need to improve our qualifying pace”

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Credit: Xavi Bonilla / DPPI

Frédéric Vasseur, the Team Principal of Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN and the CEO of Sauber Motorsport AG, acknowledged his team were always going to be on the back foot during Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix thanks to their Qualifying performance at Silverstone.

Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Räikkönen qualified nineteenth and twentieth on Saturday to fill the final row of the grid, and from there they were only able to advance to seventeenth and fifteenth respectively.

Vasseur said the team performed better and showed a much improved pace on Sunday than they did on Saturday but their qualifying positions left them with too much to do, with Alfa Romeo currently eighth in the Constructors’ Championship after the first five races.

“Starting from the back, we knew we would have our work cut out today and our final positions reflect this,” said Vasseur.  “On such a race of low attrition and without massive shake-ups, P15 and P17, ahead of our most direct rivals in the standings, is pretty much all we could achieve.

“The team performed well and executed a clean race, but we have a lot of work still ahead of us before we can be where we want to be.

“We need to improve our qualifying pace to be able to start further up the grid: on Sunday we seem to have a good turn of speed and we can keep up the pace with all the others, but we can’t really get anything out of it if we’re starting that far back.”

“We did what we could but from P20” – Kimi Räikkönen

Räikkönen was not happy to end the day outside of the points despite the Finn getting through the race with just one pit stop, one of only three drivers to try for the one-stop strategy alongside Charles Leclerc and Esteban Ocon.

Like Vasseur admitted, Räikkönen feels it is the Qualifying issues that are hurting Alfa Romeo at this stage of the season, with a back row start always going to put them at a disadvantage.

“I am not happy to be out of the points, of course, even though our pace was not too bad,” said Räikkönen. “We did what we could but from P20 we could only make it up to 15th, so we are still missing something, especially on Saturday, to be in the fight for the top ten.

“We thought a one-stop was possible since yesterday so we tried: the tyres actually lasted well, I still had pretty good grip but had an awful lot of vibration and I had to slow down to avoid something breaking.

“In the end we leave with nothing, so we will need to come up with a better performance if we want to be in the fight for points.”

“We need to keep positive and work hard” – Antonio Giovinazzi

Team-mate Giovinazzi ended seventeenth and continues to remain responsible for the only points finish of 2020 so far for the team, which was a ninth-place finish in the opening race of the season at the Red Bull Ring.

The Italian says the team need to remain positive despite their poor results so far this season, and he hopes the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will suit them better than Silverstone has.

“It wasn’t the easiest of days: we tried our best, we chose to split the strategies to give ourselves a few more chances but in the end it was not enough to get points,” said Giovinazzi.  “Our race pace was once again better than what we showed on Saturday, so we can hope to make a step forward if we improve our performance in qualifying.

“We need to keep positive and work hard, as a team, to improve: it’s not realistic to expect many things changing in a couple of days, but at least we are going to a new venue and we can hope it suits us a bit better than Silverstone.”

Antonio Giovinazzi struggled home to a seventeenth place finish in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix – Credit: Xavi Bonilla / DPPI
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