Alfa Romeo are delighted with the progress they've made with their 2021 car, with the C41 representing a big step forward from the team's particularly uncompetitive 2020 offering.
Both Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen struggled to clear Q1 throughout 2020, and only had a single ninth place finish each from the first ten races last year. This year, the team are managing Q2 appearances, and have also scored a 10th place each, while Kimi Raikkonen finished ninth on track at Imola before being given a penalty for a restart infringement.
The C41 is definitely a step forward and we can be satisfied with the work we have done with it," beamed Alfa Romeo Technical Director Jan Monchaux.
"We can positively say that every aspect of the car – the power unit, the chassis, the aerodynamics – is an improvement and we are confident that there is still performance to be unlocked as we learn more and more about the car, the tyres and the set-up. Of course, the proof is in the pudding and we can only define the success of a car by its results: on this front, we are seeing improvement every race so we can be confident for the future."
Team boss Frederic Vasseur was similarly enthusiastic about the team's gains this year, as the outfit continue their recovery from losing their way between 2019 and 2020.
"As a team, we have made a really big step forward from last season to this: perhaps the biggest among all teams on the grid," Vasseur explained.
"The data speaks for itself – just looking at qualifying, the average gap we have from pole position went down by more or less a percentage point, while in the race we have made also significant progress, above half a percentage point.
"In such a close grid, that’s a big jump forward and I think we’re not done yet delivering the full potential of our package. The whole entirety of the C41 is working better than its predecessor and it would be unfair to point to a single element to give credit for the progression we have made: the power unit has made a big step forward, of course, but we have improved every aspect of our car and the result is visible on track."
Vasseur pointed out that unusual circumstances, as well as Raikkonen's Imola penalty, have prevented the team from scoring a few more points.
"I give the team more credit than the standings would show," he said.
"Every Sunday so far, we have been fighting and we have been keeping behind us teams like Alpine, Aston Martin and AlphaTauri, teams that are all entangled in the fight for P5 in the championship. We had six rather bizarre races in which attrition has been at historical lows – I can’t remember a Monaco without a single yellow flag in my lifetime!
"We regularly finished just outside the points – P11, P12 – in quite a few occasions which in 2020 would have been a P8 or P9 just by virtue of a few failures or incidents here and there. Of course, we want more and we are confident we will be soon fighting for the top ten on merit, without anyone’s help, but the current circumstances have been bizarre."