Alfa Romeo technical director Jan Monchaux says that due to the health pandemic, the team are still unable to use the simulator they bought in 2019.
Sauber and Alfa Romeo invested in a state-of-the-art simulator at the end of the 2019 campaign with the hope of starting to use it as soon as the following year.
However, the pandemic halted development, meaning that ultimately was not possible and rendered the facility unusable throughout the year.
“Unfortunately, this project was shelved because of the COVID crisis, the long plant shutdown, and some internal issues we had,” Monchaux told Motorsport.com.
“We certainly lost three or four months on the development level [of the simulator]. We are now working extra hard to speed it up.
“We are slowly coming to a level where we hope it starts to come in handy. ”
— Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN (@alfaromeoracing) February 22, 2021
The initial hopes would have been to at least use the simulator to develop the 2021 car, the recently unveiled C41, even if it could not play a part in the 2020 campaign.
There ultimately was not enough time for that though, and while Monchaux and the team are planning to use it in the development of their 2022 challenger, they do not want to rush things.
“The 2021 car did not really benefit from the simulator, that’s for sure,” he added.
“We must also be careful because if we jump too early on a tool that is not well calibrated and untrustworthy, we risk making some expensive decisions a year down the road on the new car.
“Instead, we plan to take it gradually, do a lot of correlation before and after the grands prix, mainly with the drivers, to build that confidence we need and, step by step, start using the tool to make decisions.
“Currently, it is not there yet. I hope the 2022 car will already benefit more from this new tool.”
With Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi busy on track, it is likely the bulk of the early work in the simulator, once it is up and running, will fall to reserve driver Robert Kubica, who is entering his second consecutive year in the role.