There is only Ferrari of the major sufferers of this season 2020, Alfa Romeo started with the wrong foot, especially in qualifying. Problems of the car, especially in qualifying, strategies, questionable, suspected of aiding and abetting on a pilot at the expense of another. At the helm of the team is Fred Vasseur, 52 years old, French. Engineer with a long experience in motorsport, Fred has worked (and won titles) with Rosberg and Hamilton at ART grand prix, has been at the helm of the Renault F. 1, has the experience and knowledge that makes them the right person for a team in construction. It is not a coincidence that Sergio Marchionne had proposed to come to Ferrari, but Vasseur refused. If he accepted, things would have been different.
Of course the commander in chief takes his responsibilities, deals with the problems and after our inquiry about the problems Alfa Romeo in the beginning of the season, as a good leader, those who look at you in the eyes, decided to tackle the problem by making themselves available. A sign of style, personality, and intelligence. And then, knowing that he would have answered without hesitation because of his experience and with a vision clear of how to manage a team, we started with the sore spot: the poor performance. The fault of the spill Simone Remains that after only one year he quit Alfa Romeo to return to the Ferrari leaving a job half done?
Fred Vasseur: “The strength of a team is the Group, not individuals. In this field, we have maintained the stability of our technical field despite the change of technical director. It is clear that our machine has problems in qualifying, but let’s not forget that, in the race we are often faster than Alpha Tauri and Renault. In Budapest, Antonio Giovinazzi was extremely competitive in his last stint, so it is obvious that the machine has a potential to be exploited. It’s up to us to be able to pull it out. We need to understand what is causing this deficit lap and we have to work hard to improve the situation. Everyone in the team have made an incredible effort, since after the first race in Spielberg: I am sure that we will find solutions in a hurry, but the important thing now is to stay calm. We must continue to work to identify our shortcomings and improve for the good of the team and our partners.”
Sometimes we had the impression that from the pit wall to take wrong decisions that have worsened some of the solutions and the lack of contact in the team…
“The team leaders are me, and, in the end, the responsibility for results is mine. They are the first to lose the sleep when a race weekend does not go as it should. In these cases, it is normal to look at the situation and discuss internally to find solutions that will help us to progress. Our partners are perfectly aware of the situation, they know in which position we are and what we are doing to move closer to the top of the grid. I strongly believe in transparency with our partners.”
Alfa Romeo how are you reacting to this situation? There are no discussions?
“Our project with Alfa Romeo and FCA is a long-term plan. Of course, we want the best results as soon as possible, but we know that our goal is the future. The results now, good or bad, do not change this commitment. As team principal, it is my job to make sure that all are focused on our end goal and analyze what works and what doesn’t in the team, so that we can take the necessary measures to improve it.”
We have listened to some of the team radio asking Giovinazzi to pass Raikkonen, the discussions on strategic choices. The perception is that you are penalizing Antonio at the expense of Kimi…
“I have full confidence in the team around me and in our pilots, Anthony and Kimi. In the end, every decision taken by the team is my responsibility and therefore I do everything that is in the best interest of the team, not individual drivers. Both are given the same opportunity and has not the sense to make decisions that will benefit one at the expense of the other. Kimi and Antonio are employees of the team, and both know well the way in which we make decisions, in particular the circumstances in which we try to produce the best result for the team. This is exactly the case of the exchanges of position, such as the one that we have asked them to do Spielberg. If we know that the car behind has the tires the best or the best chance of attacking a rival, can we ask the riders to swap positions: we did it last year and will happen again. If the pilot is not able to earn the position, we make them go back to their original positions – it is a thing decided in advance. We’ve also done this with Leclerc and Ericsson, is the interest of the team comes before the drivers. In the end, the two pilots compete individually but they are part of a team with 500 other people, and to all of our partners. My job is to maximize the results for all of these people. Promote a pilot only would be extremely counterproductive”.
However, it is true that it lacks a referent Alfa Romeo with which interface in the paddock, impression of a certain lack of interest or just different organization?
“The spokesman of the team am I, and I assume all responsibility for the choices that we make – whether good or bad”.