Alfa Romeo F1 is one of the teams that has shown the biggest improvement this year compared to 2021. Frédéric Vasseur, director of the structure, is satisfied despite a difficult start to the season, which explains but for reliability problems.
“Part of the reliability problems come from us, part of the problems come from Ferrari” note Vasseur. “I have full confidence in Ferrari to fix it. I don’t want to focus on that. For our part, we started badly in Barcelona in the pre-season with rebounds and damaged the monohull.”
“Because we couldn’t repair the site, we lost the first few days. Then it snowballed, we wanted to get back too fast and we had other problems, especially with Zhou, during the races. It was painful.”
An “amazing” plant but aged when it arrives
Hinwil’s team is reaping the fruits of colossal investments, especially in his factory, and Vasseur admits that since his arrival he has had to reorganize many things in the factory. Sauber was going through several difficult seasons and it took a lot of investment to get back to a decent level, even though BMW’s fundamentals were good.
“The equipment of the facilities is amazing. But when BMW left in late 2009, and until 2016/2017, it was a difficult period for the company. The level of investment was very low. ‘equipment looked great, so when you look deeply at the details, it wasn’t so bright! “
“So we’ve spent the last three or four years investing a fortune to improve the installation. We’ve taken a step forward in all areas, including the new simulator, but also the wind tunnel software. We’ve invested a fortune and I think we’re at the F1 level now. That’s one of the reasons for the performance we’ve had this year. “
The habit of managing “a smaller budget”
Vasseur is now ready to see Alfa Romeo F1 continue its progress, with a well-defined structure and a way of doing things that fits perfectly on the budget ceiling. He confirms that he preferred to aim for the long term and bet on 2022, instead of trying to return to a higher level than the previous regulations.
“It doesn’t make sense to be fifth if you fight the medical car again next year! We knew the new regulations and the budget cap was an opportunity for us. Technology is a big plus for the best teams.”
“They developed technologies before the budget limit. Today there is still an advantage and they will probably have it in the next two or three seasons. But we are more accustomed to managing this type of smaller budgets, so in the medium term, we can be optimistic. “
The 2023 project already in Hinwil’s mind
Alfa Romeo F1 is already working on its C43, the 2023 car, which Valtteri Bottas revealed he saw in the wind tunnel. Vasseur reveals that the team is currently defining what will remain of its current car in its future Formula 1.
“If you want to be efficient, you have to bring components. We’re deciding what we’re going to take. We take different options when it comes to cooling, suspension, etc., that’s life. Engineer, they want to reinvent the wheel every year!”
“If we want to be efficient and have the budget to develop our car all year round, we need to make some postponements. We will not stop the development of the current car, but part of that development will be postponed. See you. next year. “
“It’s a much smaller problem this season than last year. Since we knew we wouldn’t make any upgrades during the season, we were much more focused on operations and I think it’s been very helpful for our overall performance.”