Alfa Romeo technical director Jan Monchaux said the team kept the same driver line-up for 2021 to avoid an “additional challenge”.
Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi are gearing up to take the wheel of Alfa’s 2021 challenger, the C41, in what will be their third season together as a driver pairing. Robert Kubica is also staying put as the team’s reserve and test driver.
Raikkonen and Giovinazzi’s seats had not always been secure though last season, with Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott from the Ferrari Driver Academy among those linked with an Alfa Romeo seat, but in the end the line-up remained unchanged for 2021.
And in a season where large parts of the 2020 chassis have been carried over, while pre-season testing has also been slashed to three days, Monchaux was pleased to avoid that “additional challenge” of working around a new driver.
“A crucial element is that, from the very start, you know with certainty what your drivers like and what they don’t,” he is quoted by Crash.net.
“The 2021 car is a very close development of last year’s and, knowing what Kimi and Antonio want, we were able to focus on mitigating the aspects they did not like.
“Had we had a completely new driver, perhaps with a completely new driving style, that would have presented us with an additional challenge – especially in a season with extremely limited testing time.
“The stability on the drivers’ front definitely helps our engineers focus on giving them the tools to be confident at the wheel and extract the most from the car.”
With the testing schedule cut so drastically, Monchaux predicts a “hectic” three days in Bahrain, but as well as fine-tuning the new cars, he expects teams to put plenty of focus into understanding the new Pirelli rubber for 2021.
“Testing in Bahrain will be hectic,” he explained.
“I expect every team to put in as much mileage as possible in an attempt to tick off all the boxes on their plans.
“One of the key elements of testing will be the new tyres, which we were able to test in a couple of occasions last year, so there will be a lot of work to be done in this field.
“Of course, we have a much-reduced window, just three days, this year, so I expect the action on track to be much more than in previous years.”