As Formula 1’s Pre-Season Testing for 2021 draws to a close, Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN say their ‘productive’ weekend setting an impressive total of 422 laps marks ‘a new record’ for the historic outfit.
Throughout the test, both Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi were out on track at the Bahrain International Circuit completing race runs, pit stop practices and low-fuel Qualifying simulations in order to gain valuable data for the team’s first outing at the very same venue in two weeks time.
And after the three days had concluded, it was Alfa who were tied on lap count with midfield rivals Scuderia AlphaTauri.
In his typically taciturn manner, Raikkonen – the man who helped to rack up a large number of Alfa Romeo’s laps – referred to the final day of testing as nothing more than ‘positive’, and a good indication that the car is ‘better than last year’. Along with the majority of viewers, Kimi understood that ‘testing times don’t mean much,’ citing that the Italian brand would have to ‘wait and see’ to discover their true 2021 pace.
“It was a positive day from a work point of view. We got all we came here for and now we just have to see where we are when we’re back here racing in two weeks.
“Times in testing don’t mean anything and, right now, we don’t know how all the other teams are performing. But we know how our car does, and feeling wise, it is better than last year.
“I guess we are faster than at our best at the end of 2020, but whether that translate into a better performance in the races, that we will have to see.”
Kimi’s prophetic words certainly have some weight behind them: The team is set to experience a slightly more positive season this year considering their long-term engine supplier Ferrari appear to have made some significant improvements to their power unit, which caused them a great deal of grief in 2020
Promisingly, one of Ferrari’s top engineers divulged that the upgrades to the engine will account for an enhancement of ‘over one tenth a lap.’
Jan Monchaux, Alfa Romeo’s Technical Director, also feels as though the car seems to have advanced from last year, revealing that the team’s latest data is ‘encouraging.’
Monchaux is looking to use the next ten days to focus heavily on improving the car to its maximum potential; he says the team must ‘not get carried away’ so as to find every bit of performance they can in the run up to the season opener.
“The results are encouraging but we’re not getting carried away: we know there is still a lot of work to do.
“This was just a friendly game: just a milestone on the long road that is the 2021 season. We feel ready to start the championship and we feel better prepared than last year. The car was reliable throughout the week and we improved on the weaknesses we had in 2020.
“Now we have ten days to study all the data we have gathered and find a bit more performance on both the single lap and over a race distance. Everyone will have raised their game by the time we’re back here in two weeks’ time and we’ll need to be ready.”