Alfa was "nowhere" in "far from normal" Japanese GP

Alfa Romeo’s Formula 1 drivers were left baffled by being “nowhere” in the Japanese Grand Prix, a race Kimi Raikkonen labelled “far from normal”.

Alfa was "nowhere" in "far from normal" Japanese GP

The two Alfas qualified 11th and 13th after narrowly missing out on a spot in the top-10 shootout, with Giovinazzi ahead of Raikkonen on the grid, but they slumped to 14th and 16th in the race itself with Raikkonen the best-placed of the two.

After finishing more than 20 seconds adrift of the points, Raikkonen confessed to being confused by his lack of pace on the medium and hard compounds.

Asked by Motorsport.com if the unusual Japanese GP weekend, on which qualifying was shifted to Sunday morning because of Typhoon Hagibis, had given way to a more normal race, Raikkonen said it was “far from normal in my book”.

“It’s hard to understand why we had no front end and no speed on the first two sets [of tyres],” said Raikkonen.

“When we put the soft on at the end we suddenly go three or four seconds faster and the car actually feels quite good.

“I don’t know, hopefully we figure out soon what is the issue. We ran two different aero packages. I’m sure we’ll learn from those and hopefully we get back to fighting in the top 10.”

Raikkonen had expected a stronger showing from Alfa after the team felt it had got to grips with the causes of its recent mini-slump.

The 2007 world champion has not scored points since the summer break while Giovinazzi has a ninth and a 10th during that five-race spell.

Asked by Motorsport.com if Alfa’s woes might have been eased had it not lost track time through Saturday’s cancelled final practice session, Raikkonen said: “I don’t know. Somehow just on one compound, the soft compound, the car works and the others absolutely not.

“We just don’t get any grip from those tyres. It’s probably the first time this year that it’s like that.”

Giovinazzi continued his fine qualifying form since the summer break by outpacing Raikkonen again but finished almost half a minute behind after being forced to abort an attempted one-stop strategy with four laps left.

“It was really difficult,” said Giovinazzi when asked by Motorsport.com if he shared Raikkonen’s assessment of the grand prix.

“The pace was really slow all race and in qualifying we were not too bad, really close to the midfield teams. But in the race we were nowhere.

“We will check everything and try to find the right solution for the next race.”

Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing C38, battles with Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-19

Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing C38, battles with Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-19

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

shares
comments
Early end to Japanese GP "very unfortunate", Masi admits

Previous article

Early end to Japanese GP "very unfortunate", Masi admits

Next article

Tech verdict: How Mercedes struck back at Suzuka

Tech verdict: How Mercedes struck back at Suzuka
Load comments
Why unseen Hungary heroics could be Latifi's making Prime

Why unseen Hungary heroics could be Latifi's making

The chaotic start to the Hungarian GP set the scene for F1's less heralded drivers to make a name for themselves. Esteban Ocon did just that to win in fine style, but further down the order one driver was making his first visit to the points and - while the circumstances were fortunate - took full advantage of the chance presented to him

Formula 1
Aug 3, 2021
Hungarian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Hungarian Grand Prix driver ratings

This was race that showcased the best and worst of Formula 1, producing a first time winner and a memorable comeback to a podium finish. Avoiding trouble at the start and astute strategy calls were key to success, but where some drivers took full advantage, others made key errors that cost them dearly

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The "heart-breaking" call that led to Ocon's Hungarian GP triumph Prime

The "heart-breaking" call that led to Ocon's Hungarian GP triumph

Set to restart the red-flagged Hungarian Grand Prix in second, Esteban Ocon had some doubts when he peeled into the pits to swap his intermediate tyres for slicks. But this "heart-breaking" call was vindicated in spectacular fashion as the Alpine driver staved off race-long pressure from Sebastian Vettel for a memorable maiden Formula 1 victory

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Prime

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall...

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Prime

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Prime

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed.

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Prime

How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021