Alfa boss urges F1 to keep new rules stable

Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur believes the small teams will only be able to take advantage of the new regulations if they remain in place for a couple of years.

It will be all change from the 2021 season as the technical rules will undergo a major overhaul while a budget cap will also be introduced.

Many believe that the new regs will bring the field closer while others believe the budget cap will do the trick.

However, Vasseur says the rules will only have an impact if they remain unchanged for several seasons.

“The budget cap won’t affect at all six or seven teams on the grid,” he is quoted as saying by RaceFans.net. “It will affect the top teams but on the other hand they will have more resources to develop the new car next year.”

He added: “The most important thing for me is the stability of the regulations. If we change the regulations another time in ’23 or ’24 it will be very difficult for the small teams to have an advantage [from] this.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, meanwhile, says it will take time before we start seeing results due to both the budget cap and rule changes.

“What you have to remember about the budget cap is that it’s fixed for a five year period,” he said. “So certainly for the top three teams it’s a considerable challenge to get into a position to obviously get under that cap for 2021 onwards. Then obviously once we are there we have to stay five years.

“There may still be some divergence between the smaller teams and the larger teams over a period of time. Hopefully as revenues continue to grow within the sport with the plans that Liberty [have] and the growth that they expect to see during the next five years I think things will naturally converge.”

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Raikkonen says 11th or last makes ‘no difference’

As Kimi Raikkonen’s point-less run continued in Austin, the Finn says he takes no comfort from his P11 as 11th or last makes “no difference”.

Raikkonen began the United States Grand Prix from 17th on the grid after yet another disappointing qualifying session for Alfa Romeo.

He had an epic first lap, making up several positions, and it wasn’t long before he was running inside the top ten.

But as the race played out Raikkonen, despite being on a two-stopper, struggled with his tyres.

He lost places in the final stint, bringing his Alfa Romeo home in 11th place.

“If you take many previous races for sure I was strongest for a long time, but obviously when you finish 11th you get absolutely nothing so you [might] as well be last,” he said to Autosport.

“It makes no difference, so that’s why it’s disappointing.

“Sure, there was a lot of positive, but the end result is still the same.

“I had quite an OK first lap but didn’t have the speed to stay in the position.

“I managed to pass [Kevin] Magnussen but it just feels like we’re lacking general speed a bit so we have to use the tyres more than others to hold onto them.

“And then obviously we run out of tyres a bit earlier.

“And then it multiplies during the race and it costs us a bit.

“But we’re just lacking a little [of] speed generally.

“We were at least in a fight, but it’s still a bit disappointing to finish 11th.”

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Hulkenberg talking to Alfa, rules out Williams

Nico Hulkenberg won’t be returning to Williams next season, but could see himself driving for Alfa Romeo if the opportunity arises.

Hulkenberg made his Formula 1 debut with Williams in 2010, scoring 22 points and claiming one pole position.

But, after just one season, they dropped him with the German taking on a test driver role at Force India, now Racing Point.

Hulkenberg returned to the grid in 2012 but never quite lived up to the reputation he had in the junior series.

Nearing the end of his ninth season in F1, he holds the record for the most race starts without a top-three finish.

Now once again looking for a new job after Renault opted not to re-sign him for 2020, rumours have linked Hulkenberg to the likes of Red Bull, Williams and Alfa Romeo.

The latter option is one that appeals to him.

“If I could see myself there [at Alfa Romeo]? Yes,” Hulkenberg said.

Then asked if he was talking to them, he added: “Of course, we’ve gone through the ranks and everything.”

But a potential return to Williams…the German says that’s not going to happen.

“I think they need somebody else,” he told Motorsportweek.com

“I think I’m not the right person, the right driver for them. Not that at all.

“It’s just where I am in my career, where they are, and the timings, I just don’t think it’s the right timing for us.

“With all due respect to the team, and obviously I’ve raced for them and everything, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

The 32-year-old also reiterated that he would not remain in Formula 1 just for the sake of it.

He added: “I’ve performed well over the years, very consistently, many times when it was on the verge or other people didn’t get hired or get a job, I still was wanted and hired and paid to drive.

“That also speaks for some quality. Of course I would like to have a different kind of record, more points and podiums and victories, but yeah, I know the reasons why, and why maybe things didn’t go that way.

“I’m at peace with myself there. I sleep well at night with my eyes closed. I’d love to continue racing, but if not, then life goes on.”

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Mexican/US GPs ‘crucial’ for Alfa Romeo

The Mexican GP will kick off “crucial” back-to-back races for Alfa Romeo says Antonio Giovinazzi.

Alfa enjoyed a strong first half of the season, putting themselves firmly in the upper midfield battle, but their form has nosedived since the summer break with Giovinazzi’s three points their only ones to show for their work since Hungary.

The team have slipped to P8 in the Constructors’ Championship, just seven points ahead of Haas, and Giovinazzi believes that the Mexican GP and the United States GP which follows a week later, will be crucial to any revival in 2019.

“The next two races will be a crucial moment for us,” said the Italian in Alfa Romeo’s Mexican Grand Prix preview.

“Back-to-backs are always an opportunity to build momentum so it will be important to do well in Mexico and carry on to Austin.

“I have never raced in Mexico City but I had two practice sessions there and I quite like the track.

“The layout, with its long straights, reminds me of Monza, but the conditions will be very different due to the altitude. Hopefully our car will suit the circuit well and we will be in the fight for points.”

Kimi Raikkonen has now gone five races without any points, but he insists those races “don’t matter” as he targets a return to the top ten in Mexico.

“Mexico gives us a chance to get back in the points,” said the former World Champion.

“It doesn’t really matter what we did in the past few races, our focus is on the next events and we need to make sure we go out and do our job well. If we do that, we will be in the battle for the points, this is what matters.

“We know the final four races are very important and we will continue to give 100 per cent to finish the season well.”

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