Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Yas Marina, 2021

Alfa Romeo ‘did a step forward but didn’t achieve anything’ laments Vasseur

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In the round-up: Alfa Romeo team boss Frederic Vasseur says the team made a substantial step forward in performance but failed to capitalise on it this year.

In brief

Vasseur: Alfa Romeo’s year a “strange feeling”

Alfa Romeo’s haul of 13 points from 21 races left Vasseur with “a very strange feeling” about their season.

“I think in terms of pure performance we did pretty well. We had a huge step compared to last year, probably the best one in terms of pure performance compared to pole position.”

However the team “missed the good opportunities of the year” he admitted. “We were involved in a crash, or in Spa and we had some missed opportunities on our side, Bahrain I think we had the issue during the pit stop or in Imola when Kimi spun on the formation lap, that cost us two points there, four points there.”

“It doesn’t matter to me faster if you are not scoring points,” Vasseur admitted. “And it’s a bit of the frustration of the of the team today that we had the feeling that we did a step forward in terms of pure performance, but we didn’t achieve anything, we didn’t score the points.”

Honda had no second thoughts over F1 exit

Masashi Yamamoto, head of Honda’s F1 power unit programme, said that the manufacturer never reconsidered its decision to leave the sport, despite a string of wins which has seen Red Bull arrive at the final round with chance to win both championships.

“Leaving F1 was very big decision for Honda,” said Yamamoto. The manufacturer said last year it was pulling out of the sport “for the carbon neutral [target] and also for the customers all over the world.”

As a consequence, he said, “although we are having good results this year, we never had the discussion to stay here.”

Sky drop F1 idents after Red Bull complaint

British subscription network Sky has dropped two Christmas-themed idents for its F1 channel which featured footage of collisions between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, following a complaint from Red Bull. The sequences combined video of the pair’s clashes at Silverstone and Monza with superimposed snowglobe effect, festive music and a “Merry Christmas” slogan.

Red Bull were especially unhappy to see Verstappen’s heavy British Grand Prix crash appear in the idents. “A 51G crash where the driver was airlifted to hospital being used as a Merry Christmas message is very poor taste indeed” a Red Bull spokesperson told RaceFans.

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Social media

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Comment of the day

After Franz Tost praised Max Verstappen’s father’s role in his success, Becken Lima says his karting champion mother should be given equal credit:

I’m always baffled on how people inside F1 erase the role of Sophie Kumpen — Max’s mother — in shaping Max’s character as a driver. Sophie was a fantastic kart racer who raced along great drivers like Button, Magnussen, Trulli and Fisichella — and along some not so good like… Horner.

Luciano Burti, F1 pundit in Brazil, always said that Sophie was a better driver than Jos. And, let’s be honest: it takes a lot of toughness to survive as a female driver in the nineties.

Looks like Jos is good manager and father, but F1 journalists should dig deep to understand how Sophie contributed to Max’s success.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Debaser91, Ryan and Miguel Bento!

On this day in motorsport

  • 25 years ago today Nigel Mansell began a two-day test for Jordan at the Circuit de Catalunya. The 1992 world champion, then aged 43, said his chance of racing the following year was “60/40”, but did not resume the career he called time on in 1995

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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11 comments on “Alfa Romeo ‘did a step forward but didn’t achieve anything’ laments Vasseur”

  1. I’ve not seen these ads and don’t want to mostly because what I see of Sky is just from f1 and their production is super corny. Like ESPN college football level cringe.

    But I can’t imagine RBR having their eyes well up in tears about this again. Are they still acting like their driver was the victim of a heinous crime? TV uses crashes to promote races. It’s the cornerstone of race promos, unfortunately. They act like this was the worst crash ever to appear in one of these.

    1. I saw the silverstone one twitter. It’s pretty tasteless. Basically implying Max being taken out of a race is a Christmas gift for Brits… cringey at best, actually quite offensive at worst. I can appreciate why red bull is upset.

      1. Indeed, also saw that one @tommy-c, don’t have any need to see anything of that sort, it’s pretty bad.

        Now apparently and echoing what you are saying @dmw it is not just about Verstappen but a regular thing from Sky, but though I don’t much credit Red Bull’s management for decency over being self-serving, I do hope that this leads to people at Sky rethinking that sort of thing, and wouldn’t mind more people speaking against it in general.

  2. Until recently, Sky showed a channel ident using the 2017 Singapore start crash footage

    The snowglobe effect is used by Sky UK across their channels, especially football (with a lot of promos for their Premier League coverage over the festive period)

    Unless there are others produced for showing near to (or at) Christmas, the one remaining ident is the Ricciardo Monza ’21 podium one IIRC

  3. Víctor Amaya
    11th December 2021, 6:03

    Red Bull’s insufferable whining has reach a next level of absurdity. “the driver was airlifted to hospital” Give me a break. Max got out of the car by himself. The only reason he was airlifted to hospital was for precautionary checks. His life was never in danger.

    Red Bull’s brand was built on extreme sports and doing pretty crazy things. Now they sound worse than my grandma.

  4. RandomMallard
    11th December 2021, 8:14

    COTD: Agree very much with this @becken-lima. Not sure if you’ve seen it (as this may have prompted your original comment) but the BBC did an article this week looking at the making of Max, and does put more emphasis on Sophie than many similar articles do.

    Great to see Jack Aitken back in the car after that Spa crash.

    Quite enjoyed that Guardian article by Herbert, a bit to my surprise. I agree with his general view: while Verstappen has been extremely quick I think Hamilton at the moment has the better racecraft and is a more complete driver. Agree that it’s been one of the best battles ever as well. Great way to see the end of an era for F1 as well, with the wing downforce monsters on their way out and ground effect back in.

    That’s something that I think is being lost in all the title battle and Kimi talk this weekend (obviously both deserve is). This is the final weekend for both 13 inch wheels and a generation of cars that have evolved pretty much from the general rule set from 1997.

  5. A wise move by Sky.

  6. Yep, no pro-British bias by UK media at all. Nothing to see here, folks.

    1. Please don’t have DC doing the interviews.

  7. Creating britophobia, they need 1066 all over again

  8. The biased part of Brits show how tasteless they become.
    And at a commercial station it seems you are shunt for being a bit honest.

    Enjoy the Last race everyone.

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