The F1 field in 2021 continues to take shape: As the third racing team after McLaren and Alpha Tauri, Alfa Romeo presented its new racing car for next season on Monday.
In Warsaw, Poland, the C41 is now introduced, which Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi will compete with.
Even the name hides a bit of curiosity: the C41 follows the C39, creating a gap in the traditional numbering. The C40 will likely be reserved as the name for the 2022 that has already started. The same “problem” exists with Ferrari, where Project 673 comes before Project 672.
Other than that, at first glance, there is nothing surprising about the new Alfa Romeo race car, which again comes in white and red – in keeping with main sponsor Orlen, whose launch party was held in his home country of Poland.
Many are old, some are new
“The C41 is the result of a very unusual situation in Formula 1 because the rules made it impossible for us to build a completely new car for this year,” says chief technology officer Jean Moncheau. “For this reason, we have approved many C39 parts for our 2021 car, except for those that must be new according to the regulations.”
The innovations include, above all, the lower part and the nose, where the team has also placed the two development icons. “This means we already know the car much better than usual when we go to test it. But it is still necessary to check during the three days of testing whether our expectations also coincide with reality.”
On the sporting front, after disappointing 2020 season, they want to direct themselves forward again. Last year they won the duel between the two back-team deputies against Haas and Williams, but the eight points were clearly far too few for Sauber’s pre-race team’s demands.
Again with a new power unit?
The gap between the two fronts was also terrifying. That should drop dramatically in 2021, and there are definitely signs. Because the weak point of the previous year was the Ferrari engine which lost a lot of power after some clarifications in the regulations. For the upcoming season, this will have to be addressed with a completely new power unit.
“The most important thing for a racing team is to always improve,” says team leader Frederic Vasore. “Setting a goal gets you back sometimes. I think we all want to improve. The team is enthusiastic and we have to go step by step to get back to the top of midfield. We know it’s a long goal that is over, but we’re working on it.”
When it comes to drivers, the team counts on continuity. Former world champion Kimi Räikkönen continued his career at the age of 41 and entered a third year with the racing team he started with one day in Formula 1. Antonio Giovinazzi would also remain on board, although many had expected Mick Schumacher to be replaced.
The third driver is also an old friend: Robert Kubica brings Polish Shepherds with him and helps the team with his expertise. It’s not unlikely that we’ll see him at least once or again in Friday’s training.
Troubled times at the Sauber
Hinwil’s Sauber team celebrated their Formula 1 debut in 1993, and as a small private racing team, they were able to celebrate some notable successes in the years to come.
In 2006 they became the BMW Team and had their most successful period in 2008, when Kubica managed to lead the way to the world title for a long time. The team also achieved its only victory so far in Canada.
After the factory left the company after the 2009 season, founder Peter Sauber returned to Formula 1 as a pirate captain, and in the years that followed, the racing team had time and time again to run into financial trouble. Since 2019, the company has been operating in First Class under the name Alfa Romeo.