Alfa Romeo return to F1
It’s nearly time for “lights out” on the 2019 Formula One season, which gets underway in Australia on 17th March. With plenty of driver changes happening over the off-season to keep fans guessing who will be driving for which teams this year, there is also a new team on the grid who have unfinished history with F1.
Having always been involved in the sport since the 50’s as an engine supplier to many teams, it has been a while since a car has been draped in the Alfa colours. This all changes in 2019, with Alfa Romeo Racing taking over the operations of Sauber Motorsport.
And boy have they come out to the pre-season practice session ready to box. The driver line up includes non-other than 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen, with 21 wins and 103 podiums from 291 race starts. He has enjoyed a smooth transition from Ferrari to Alfa after losing his seat there to Charles Leclerc during the 2018 season.
Driver 2 comes in the form of Antonio Giovinazzi, who is keen to learn from his “teacher” in Raikkonen. At 25 years-old, the F1 junior is looking forward to the challenge and with only two Gran Prix under his belt, the rookie will be keen to make an impact this season.
Let’s talk cars…
There has been a huge stir in the paddock about the innovative Alfa front wing, which is very different in design from all the top teams. The C38 (that’s the chassis design number) features an aggressive front wing design with the elements sloping down towards the endplate, plus an aggressive nose concept to help channel airflow. No one else is really doing this. A couple of teams are close. If it works and provides performance gains, the catch-up period for the others will still take a few races to develop and test their own designs, so to not negatively affect the rest of the airflow over the car.
Let’s hope neither Kimi or Antonio go too deep into turn one in Melbourne and smash all the teams hard work in thousands of shards of carbon fibre.
Alfa have set their stall out for mid-upper rankings of the grid, building off the back of the Sauber success over the last few seasons. How this will transpire will be exciting to see, we’re sure Alfa Romeo Racing will have plenty of Prosecco on ice for it’s first points of the season.
We wish them the best of luck and will be avidly following the cars and drivers throughout the season.