Following the conclusion of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship, we review the performances of each team that participated in the Championship. This is Part 2 of a 5 Part series. For Part 2, we focus on the 2 teams who finished 7th & 8th with a huge points disparity between them – Alfa Romeo & AlphaTauri.
Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen
Team Personnel & Car Details:
Team Principal: Frédéric Vasseur
Race Drivers: Kimi Räikkönen (#7, All Rounds), Antonio Giovinazzzi (#99, All Rounds)
Car: Alfa Romeo C39
Designers: Jan Monchaux (Technical Director), Luca Furbatto (Chief Designer), Alessandro Cinelli (Head of Aerodynamics)
Engine: Ferrari 065
Gearbox: Ferrari 8 Speed + 1 Reverse
Best qualifying position: P8
Best race: P9 (x3)
Constructors’ Championship position: P8 (2019 position: P8)
Constructors’ Championship points: 8 (2019 points: 57)
Points per driver: Kimi Raikkonen (4), Antonio Giovinazzi (4)
Season in a nutshell: A decent result, considering the engine Handicap
On the surface, to the casual F1 fan, the 2020 season was a disaster for the Alfa Romeo team. For 2019, the team had scored 57 points, an improvement over 2018’s haul of 48 points. But for 2020, the team had scored a grand total of just 8 points, just over 1/7 of what they had scored in the previous year.
However, was it really a disaster for Alfa Romeo? One could perhaps say it was far from a disaster. If anything, the team had certainly done well to make the most of any points scoring opportunity. On the chassis side of things, Alfa Romeo had certainly not done a poor job. At some races, not only did they out-qualify their engine supplier, they even managed to out-race them.
If anything, the single weakest link on the car was perhaps the Ferrari Power Unit. The Ferrari unit had gone from being the most powerful on the grid, to become the weakest following the FIA Investigation in the 2019 post-season. With the number of power-sensitive circuits on the calendar, notably those designed by Hermann Tilke, any Ferrari powered car was bound to lose competitiveness over the course of the season.
In the attrition-filled Austrian Grand Prix, Giovinazzi took 9th, taking advantage of the carnage to take 2 points. However, following the race, the team went on a run of 7 races without scoring points. At the Styrian Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen, finished just outside the points in 11th. This would be the closest the team would be to scoring points during this drought, which ended at the Tuscan Grand Prix, after Raikkonen finished 9th.
Giovinazzi then finished just outside of the points at Russia, before scoring again in the next race, the Eifel Grand Prix. The subsequent race, the Portugal Grand Prix then had Raikkonen again finish outside the points. The next race, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, then saw both cars finish in the points for the first time in 2020. This would also be the last time either car would finish in the points. This was enough for the team to create a huge gap to it’s rivals in Formula One’s “Class C”. As a result, they were able to secure 8th in the standings.
All in all, Alfa Romeo made the most of it’s equipment. With the weak Ferrari PU, things could not possibly have gone much better. They convincingly beat the 2 teams they could realistically beat, and should be proud of what they achieved. For 2021, which should see the introduction of a revised PU that will claw back the lost power, Alfa Romeo could potentially challenge the lower-midfield once again, breaking clear of Haas & Williams.
Season Score: 8/10
Team Personnel & Car Details:
Team Principal: Franz Tost
Race Drivers: Pierre Gasly (#10, All Rounds), Daniil Kvyat (#26, All Rounds)
Car: AlphaTauri AT01
Designers: Jody Egginton (Technical Director)
Engine: Honda RA620H
Gearbox: Red Bull Technology 8 Speed + 1 Reverse
Best qualifying position: P4
Best race: P1 (x1)
Constructors’ Championship position: P7 (2019 position: P6)
Constructors’ Championship points: 107 (2019 points: 85)
Points per driver: Pierre Gasly (75) , Daniil Kvyat (32)
Season in a nutshell: A breakthrough year for the new-look Faenza-based team
2020 marked a year of change for the Faenza-based team. The team once known as Scuderia Toro Rosso became rebranded as Scuderia AlphaTauri, & with the new identity came a new purpose. In it’s former guise as Scuderia Toro Rosso, the team’s purpose was to serve as a “junior team”, tasked with developing the skills of promising drivers for the senior team. As AlphaTauri, the team is now considered the “sister team” of Red Bull Racing.
So. Did AlphaTauri perform well enough to live up to the newfound status conferred upon it? Yes, and at the same time, no.
Year One with it’s newfound status as a “sister team” saw the team continue on it’s upward trajectory. With the 107 points, this number is the highest in the team’s history. For the most part, the team proved to be competitive in the midfield. Gasly emerged as the lead driver early on, showing great consistency & scoring points on a regular basis. However, when it came to Kvyat, things were much less consistent. While the Russian driver should certainly be applauded for some heroic drives, it must be acknowledged that he suffered from a lack of consistency at times. This lack of consistency ultimately cost the team ground in the constructors to it’s midfield rivals.
Highlights of the season for the Italian squad included Pierre Gasly’s first F1 win, at it’s home race, alongside Kvyat’s heroic drive at Imola to finish 4th.
Pierre Gasly will continue with the team in 2021, as he continues to rebuild his career, following his mid-season demotion at Red Bull in 2019. In the other car, Honda-protege & 2020 Formula 2 Rookie of the Year Yuki Tsunoda makes the leap up to Formula 1, replacing Kvyat. The second half of the season saw the Russian pick-up his form, but ultimately it was not enough for him to keep his seat.
All in all, AlphaTauri had a decent season, with a significant highlight coming in the form of Pierre Gasly’s Monza victory. For 2021, the goal for AlphaTauri will likely be to build upon its success in 2020, and climb up the grid. With Alfa Romeo set to receive a Ferrari power unit with lost power reclaimed for 2021, competition in the midfield will be increased for AlphaTauri. How successful the team will be is an unknown, but expectations remain high.
Season Score: 7/10