As soon as we saw the full extent of the lack of speed of the Ferrari power unit, it was clear to all that Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN would not be as competitive as the season prior in 2019, simply down to having the strongest power unit last year to arguably the weakest this year.
Saying this, the team will be relatively pleased with their efforts finishing eighth in the Constructor’s Championship.
A great moment for the Swiss-based outfit came at a slightly bizarre Turkish Grand Prix, Alfa Romeo achieved their best qualifying of the year with both cars starting in the top ten, Antonio Giovinazzi in tenth and Kimi Räikkönen qualifying in eighth, ahead of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team‘s Valterri Bottas. After 2019 when both cars were competing for places in Qualifying 3, the car and drivers were able to perform in the wet and slippery conditions of Intercity Istanbul Park.
The greatest moment of the season for Alfa Romeo came at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the team may have had a poor qualifying with Giovinazzi starting in last and Räikkönen in eighteenth, but in a race where there was little overtaking the Alfa Romeo drivers managed to benefit from a late safety car and finish in the last two points scoring positions. This was the highest amount of points that the team would score in a race all season, undoubtedly being the highest moment of the season for the Swiss-based team.
Räikkönen’s opening lap in the Portuguese Grand Prix was stunning, climbing a number of places to run as high as sixth, while Giovinazzi’s starts throughout the season were also good, with the Italian gaining places in all but two of the seventeen events.
…And The Lows
Alfa Romeo’s car struggled to score points throughout the season, at one point going on a run of seven races without scoring points, from the Styrian Grand Prix to the Italian Grand Prix. Seeing that they scored forty-nine points fewer than in 2019 Alfa Romeo will be disappointed with the cars ability to finish in the points scoring positions.
The general pace of the Ferrari-powered C39 was not strong, although it was reasonably reliable. Räikkönen’s only retirement came in the Austrian Grand Prix when his tyre detached itself from the car heading into the final corner, while Giovinazzi crashed out of the Belgian and Tuscan Grand Prix. A gearbox issue also caused Giovinazzi to retire from the Turkish Grand Prix.
Both Räikkönen and Giovinazzi achieved relatively similar results on a Saturday, with Giovinazzi coming out on top by nine times to Räikkönen’s eight.
Over the course of the season Giovinazzi made it into Q2 three times whilst Räikkönen made into Q2 four times. Having a driver line-up where both drivers were so evenly matched over the season was key for Alfa Romeo making the most of every opportunity that came their way to score points.
On a Sunday, it was not as close between the two drivers with the experience of Räikkönen winning out, eleven races to Giovinazzi’s six.
Both drivers scored the same amount of points over the season, Giovinazzi’s coming at Austria, Nürburgring and Imola. Räikkönen’s points came at Imola and Mugello with two ninth place finishes.
|Round||Giovinazzi Qualifying||Räikkönen Qualifying||Giovinazzi Race||Räikkönen Race|
What to look for in 2021
Looking forward to 2021, the performance of Alfa Romeo depends on the speed of the new Ferrari Power Unit, if the level of performance is as high as it was in 2019 then we can expect Alfa Romeo to be battling with the likes of Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda at the back of the midfield and contesting for points scoring positions.
If the Power Unit performance is similar to what we saw in 2020 then Alfa Romeo will most likely be battling at the back of the pack with Williams Racing and the Haas F1 Team.
It should also be another close battle between both team-mates who have been retained by the team for the third year running and in what could well be Räikkönen’s last year in Formula 1. Both will need to be at the top of their game if they wish to retain their seat for 2022, especially with the amount of Ferrari Driver Academy talent in Formula 2.