Alfa Romeo believe the big F1 rule changes for 2022 give them every chance of making a “leap forward” up the pecking order.
The rebranded Sauber team are perennial midfield battlers, but 2020 was among their poorer seasons for they finished eighth of 10 in the constructors’ World Championship standings with only eight points.
With relatively static regulations for the forthcoming season, it will be difficult for Alfa Romeo – who have Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi as their driver line-up for the third consecutive year – to make significant gains on their rivals.
But 2022 provides the chance of a different story. All teams will have to design and build a new car from scratch, with no time being wasted on getting started, and Alfa Romeo are optimistic that will help them make large strides compared to the opposition.
“Our focus is on 2022, which will be a complete revolution,” said Alfa Romeo technical director Jan Monchaux, quoted by RaceFans.
“We will have a completely different car and this represents a great opportunity to make a leap forward, closer to the front of the grid.
“It is no secret that we are going to give development preference to the 2022 car during this year. The less we put on the 2021 car, the more we can put on the 2022 car, especially with the budget cap in place.”
— Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN (@alfaromeoracing) February 22, 2021
Although he told The Race that “we are planning to bring updates through the year”, which suggests Alfa Romeo will develop their 2021 car, Monchaux added they will be “less intense” than in previous seasons.
“I would think a lot of teams are thinking about dampening a little bit the amount of effort and amount of updates they will bring during the season to concentrate on the 2022 car,” he said.
“Because as we are now under budget cap restriction, we have just that much we can burn. So if you have 100% and you spent 80% on 2021, you would still have only 20% left on 2022, which no team will do.
“So I think there will be a shift on the effort on the actual car versus the other car, where most of the team would certainly drop the effort earlier than usual.
“Last year we were bringing updates, I think, until Istanbul, Portimao, so towards the end of the season.
“I would be very surprised if we are still doing it this season, simply because what we give to this year’s car is lost for next year’s car, and next year’s car is really an important milestone for us as a team because it will be an opportunity also to close the gap.”