Eighth in the constructors' championship two-run of the term, Alfa Romeo finally did not show the expected progress compared to the previous year. The team led by Frédéric Vasseur must also score another ten points if it wants to reach the same account as in 2018, and remains under the hypothetical threat of Haas while seeing Toro Rosso out of reach seventh.
With points entered by Kimi Räikkönen in each of the first four Grands Prix, the 2019 vintage had started well for the Swiss structure, as had its accounting situation at the summer break. Only downside at the time, the disqualification following an illegal starting system in Hockenheim weighed in the balance. Added to this is a second half of the season far from expectations, with three units taken by Antonio Giovinazzi… and a Kimi Räikkönen out of the top 10 for seven weekends.
"We were expecting better, but I think the season has been a bit up and down", summarizes Frédéric Vasseur at the microphone of Motorsport.com. "We've moved between fourth and ninth place, that's a good lesson, we lost huge points in Hockenheim, Baku, Monza and Spa. part of the grid, you have to be opportunistic, I think we did a very good job during the first part of the season, being regular, error-free, and very opportunistic.This was not the case in Spa, for example . "
A small development but no excuse
As he has already done recently, the Frenchman assures that the main problem lies not in the level of performance of the C38, but more in its exploitation. "It's a bit strange, but for me it's really not a question of rhythm"he insists. "It's so tight in the middle of the grid that you have to do a perfect qualifying, a start and a race, otherwise it does not work in qualifying, we move between ninth and 16th, because McLaren is a bit ahead and if you want to score you have to be consistent, without making any mistakes, it's a good lesson for everyone on the team. "
Earlier in the season, Alfa Romeo turned to preparation for next year's car, leaving aside the development of its F1 2019. Y changes could have improved the current situation, but in a limited dimension. "We are totally focused on next year's car, there is no doubt", confirms Frédéric Vasseur. "Frankly, it would be better to have a better pace and be a tenth faster, but in the end it's mostly up to us to have a good weekend, we can be in points in Sao Paulo if we have a good weekend from start to finish. "
For the Sauber boss, who has been evolving this year in F1 under the name of Alfa Romeo, the last Grand Prix in Austin sums up the problem: "I think the pace was there all weekend, and in the E3 we were eighth, but when we start 16th and 17th, it's hard to score points, we're up to 11th with Kimi, nine-tenths of the points, that's for sure, it's not enough, but I think the pace was right, Toro Rosso had two good cars out of the points, behind us, and they're very competitive in qualifying. It's tight, and I think we missed our weekend because of qualifying. "
Interviewed by Adam Cooper