If you were a Sauber fan and you’ve stuck with them through their Alfa Romeo rebranding, you can finally say that there’s some hope at the horizon as the team is now consistently fighting for top 10 finishes.
There’s no way around the fact that new signing Kimi Raikkonen has been leading the team this year, with Alfa only trailing McLaren in the races prior to the F1’s summer break. They’re now seventh due to Toro Rosso’s massive points haul during the rain-soaked German GP.
The standings currently show McLaren in fourth place with 82 points, Toro Rosso in fifth with 43, then there’s Renault with 39 and Alfa Romeo Racing with 32. They are easily within striking distance of both Renault and Toro Rosso.
In a recent interview, team boss Frederic Vasseur told Autosport that he’s more focused on the level of performance rather than the current standings.
“We are improving drastically. Last year we were 2.5s off, we are on average 1.5 and the [most recent races] we were 1.2s. For us it’s huge. At least in terms of potential, we made a huge step forward. […] Overall we’ve made a progress of 1-1.5%, and this is huge.”
Meanwhile, Raikkonen is doing an excellent job individually for the team, having amassed 31 of Alfa’s 32 total points. He is currently 8th in the standings, trailing only McLaren’s Carlos Sainz as far as the midfield is concerned.
Vasseur hopes that his team can continue improving, while admitting that they need to work on becoming more consistent.
“Some tracks we are in a better shape than some others, you look at the trend, the trend is going down and is more [indicative]. We have to continue in this direction. I know perfectly at one stage it [the rate of improvement] will go flat.”
“In quali and the race over the last two or three events we came back more or less around Renault and McLaren, sometimes in front, sometimes just behind. We have to fight with them.”