Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN heads to Turkey for round 16 of the 2021 championship. This weekend's race will see the team return to the scene of one of the most spectacular events of last season, when a combination of rain, smooth-as-mirrors tarmac and conservative tyre allocation produced one of the most exciting races of the year.
It was also an event that marked a special milestone for the team: on its 500th race weekend, Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN went on to record the first Q3 appearance of the year, with Kimi Raikkonen in 8th and Antonio Giovinazzi in 10th place. On Sunday, things wouldn't work out for the team - a technical issue stopping Antonio, while Kimi finished outside the points - but that was then.
We approach this year's race on the back of our strongest result, with Kimi bringing four valuable points home with P8 in Sochi. In the deluge that opened up with a few laps to go, driver and team kept their cool to leapfrog their opponents and score the first top-ten finish since Baku, a long-overdue result that had often eluded us for the smallest margins.
Historical recourses are not a reliable predictor, nor is any weekend in Formula One a direct result of the preceding one: finishing in the points in Sochi, however, is a big morale and confidence boost for everyone in Hinwil and trackside. As Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN head to Istanbul, we're determined to keep this feeling going.
Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal: "Scoring points in Russia was a big confidence boost, finally bringing home a reward for all the hard work of the team. We were able to make the most of the circumstances in the closing laps of the race: the conditions were difficult, but we achieved a good result. Now we have to keep up this level of performance, ready to make the most of the chances we may get. Last year we did really well in qualifying in Istanbul, that will be a basis on which to build as we return to Turkey aiming to have another positive race."
Kimi Raikkonen: "It's always nice to finish in the top ten, especially when so many times we've gone so close to this objective. The result happened in very specific conditions, so we cannot read too much into it performance-wise, but at the same time we had to make some calls right and we did. We kept our cool in difficult moments and we were able to make big progress before the flag. Turkey will be another interesting race: last year it turned out to be an eventful day, and we know we cannot rule out the same this time around. We will need to be sharp and see how things shape up as the weekend progresses."
Antonio Giovinazzi: "I'm looking forward to coming back to racing in Turkey. The last race weekend was not an easy one and I feel we could have achieved more in the circumstances, but now it's in the past and I'm keen to move on. I remember our experience in Istanbul last year, it was quite a unique race event and, although we can't expect a repeat of the low-grip conditions we had in 2020, we know we need to be ready for anything that may happen. The team's strong result from Sochi has been a boost for all of us and we want to build on that this weekend."