Fresh from signing a new deal with Alfa Romeo, Fred Vasseur says the team formerly known as Sauber could be “one of the surprises” in 2022.
Next season Formula 1 is embracing a new era, moving to ground effect aerodynamics in a bid to improve racing.
The new design should, F1 bosses hope, allow the cars to follow each other without getting caught up in dirty air, ultimately leading to closer racing and more passing.
Formula 1 will unveil a full-sized model of a 2022 F1 car at Silverstone on Thursday afternoon.
But that’s not the only change that it is in effect as this year saw all the teams begin operating under a budget cap.
While that has hit the likes of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari very hard, for teams such as Alfa Romeo it has not changed their reality.
“Already this year, with the introduction of the budget cap, we took the first step towards the ‘new’ Formula 1 we will see next year,” Vasseur told the official F1 website.
“As always, when there is a big regulation change, there is an opportunity to make a big step forward: to do so in a regime of budget cap is a further chance for us.
“We are a very efficient team in the way we use resources, we have been operating just below the cap for years, so we won’t need to go through painful adjustments like some of our rivals.
“We feel we can be one of the surprise packages of the next era.”
Nine races into this year’s championship, Alfa Romeo are P8 in the standings with both Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi on a point apiece.
While it is not the results the team had hoped for, Vasseur reckons his team has made the “biggest step forward” in this year’s championship.
And it is on the back of that, that Alfa Romeo have recommitted to the team.
“As a team, we have made the biggest step forward across the grid this season, even though the results don’t show as well as the data yet,” he said.
“The gap to the front of the grid has shrunk significantly, especially in a world of marginal gains as Formula 1 is at the end of a regulations cycle.
“This is the improvement that underpins the extension of the relationship with Alfa Romeo.
“They see the team is evolving in the right direction and we’re both keen to reap the rewards of our development together.”