Alfa Romeo is expecting Ferrari to deliver a new power unit that will recover “a large part” of the deficit it faced in 2020.
Ferrari was hit by power unit technical directives last year that prevented it from getting anywhere near the same amount of performance as it had managed at times during 2019, and it could not address those issues during the season due to a power unit development freeze. However, significant changes are allowed over the winter, and after launching the Ferrari-powered Alfa Romeo C41, team principal Frederic Vasseur said he is expecting a major step forward from the powertrain.
“The collaboration with Ferrari is going very well,” Vasseur said. “We had a strong meeting – a long meeting – during the winter to cover the points of last year when we didn’t do the perfect job, but we are on a good path.
“I think on their side they will probably recover a large part of the issues that we had last year, and collaboration is getting better and better. Now, we won’t take some of their stuff, perhaps one or two elements, but not much more, but it’s not the key point of the collaboration. The key point of the collaboration is to be convinced that we can learn from each other in the scope of the regulations, and we have to play with this and do the best job that we can do.”
Alfa Romeo has retained its 2020 driver line-up of Antonio Giovinazzi, Kimi Raikkonen and reserve driver Robert Kubica, and Vasseur said the experience of the latter two names is crucial in an era where simulation is becoming more important. To that end, Alfa Romeo is working on updating its simulator, meaning Kubica will get plenty of Friday practice outings during the season.
“It’s true that we invested a lot of money and energy into the simulator and we hope that it will pay off at some stage,” he said.
“We are really at the early stage of the project. We are putting a lot of effort into it, and I am really convinced that we will get the first updates and information, and it will be off quite soon. But it’s a long-term project. We knew before we launched the simulator, and we are sticking to the plan.
“I think now F1 is going in another direction compared to the past, and the first discussions we had is that with less and less testing, we have to be ready when we are on track. So having an experienced guy on track makes more than sense. Regarding Robert, the input he had last year with us – even if he didn’t do all the sessions – whenever he had the chance to drive the car in FP1, it was a huge push for us.
“Now the simulator is ready to be developed, and a large part of the job will be to do the correlation with the track. Robert will be back in the car each month or each two months to be sure that the correlation is a good one, and I’m really convinced that to have two experienced guys and the combination with Antonio who is a big younger is a good combination. The line-up is working well.”