With its points haul at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Williams has surged ahead of Alfa Romeo in the F1 constructors’ race, but Alfa’s head of track engineering Xevi Pujolar remains optimistic the tide can be turned.
Williams scored its first points in over two years in Budapest, where Nicholas Latifi was seventh — after running as high as third in the unusual race — and George Russell eighth following Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification. Alfa itself picked up a third point of the season courtesy of Kimi Raikkonen but is now seven points behind Williams, but Pujolar remains unfazed.
“It (overhauling Williams) will not be easy but I think it’s possible,” Pujolar said. “I think at the end of the day it could have been much worse from where they were at the beginning, so I’m still happy about it! After the first lap when we had the big crash and incidents on lap one, the positions that they had even though we’d done reasonably well when we qualified…
“We wanted to have both cars in Q2, we wanted to have both cars in front of Williams so we achieved that and thought, ‘OK we are in a very good position’ and then after lap one everything is just gone. We still had a chance even if they were both ahead, but they were both ahead and both of our cars had a penalty, so that was even more challenging.
“But we managed to regain some ground during the race and they lost a lot of ground, so now the difference in points I don’t think is huge. We still have a lot of races to do, so I think we can do that.”
Given the fact that there are 12 races to go, Pujolar believes Alfa Romeo has the performance to pick up small points on a regular basis — having scored at three tracks compared to one for Williams — and therefore doesn’t need to rely on another crazy race to recover ground.
“I think under normal racing conditions we can achieve it. If we only had three or four race left probably yes, but with multiple races to go it is achievable.
“There are no specific tracks we need. In Budapest in normal conditions, like at most tracks we can perform reasonably well if we have both drivers. We had Kimi in Q2 (in Hungary) so if we can maintain that I think we can on tracks where you run maximum downforce, and tracks where the efficiency level is a bit higher.
“So I don’t see any particular track layout needed. We can do that from Spa up until the end of the season.”