Alfa Romeo chief Frederic Vasseur is of the view that their team has made the biggest step from 2020 F1 season to 2021.

To a certain extent, Vasseur is correct in his assessment, as Alfa Romeo indeed looked to be in a better position after pre-season testing and also the first race in Bahrain. They certainly latched itself onto the midfield F1 battle, fighting for the points.

It looks like McLaren, Ferrari and AlphaTauri are a step ahead, but Alfa Romeo seems to have caught up with a slower Aston Martin and Alpine, while keeping itself ahead of Williams. They almost scored a point in Bahrain too, but for few laps in the end.

“We had a solid start of the season and that’s a good basis upon which to build, starting from this weekend,” Alfa Romeo team boss, Vasseur. “We have made a considerable step forward in performance, possibly one of the biggest across the field, and we are now in the midfield fight, but the top ten is where you have to finish to bring home the points so that has to be our objective for Imola.

“Last year, we had our best result of the season here and we can take that as an encouragement, although we know the form we showed in 2020 is only a vague indicator of what we can expect this time around. We have seen how difficult it is to overtake around this circuit, so our Saturday performance will be crucial to make sure we get to the race in the best possible position to bring home points.”

The two Alfa Romeo drivers seems to be confident about points too, but are cautious at the same time, to have a perfect weekend, to be able to convert it. “We are confident we can be in the middle of the fight for points in Imola as well, but we are under no illusions it is going to be easy,” said Raikkonen.

“We saw in Bahrain that even a good weekend doesn’t mean a top ten finish, so we know we have to keep pushing to improve everything we do from Thursday to Sunday: the difference between finishing just behind the top teams and outside of the top ten will be very small. Hopefully we can do our homework, have a good weekend and we get to be in that first group: we know what is in our control and what isn’t, so we just have to make sure we perform as we know we can.”

His Alfa Romeo teammate, Antonio Giovinazzi, added: “What we saw in Bahrain gave us a big confidence boost and we are looking forward to seeing how competitive we can be in Imola. We know we can be in the fight, but we also know we need to deliver a flawless weekend to maximise our returns: the margins are very small in the midfield, especially in qualifying, and every little detail makes a difference.

“I would love to open my scoring tally in Imola, on home soil: having three home races last season didn’t spoil me, it’s always a special feeling to race at home and this weekend will be no different.”

Here’s new schedule of Imola F1 race