If Haas are the measure for Alfa Romeo then the Hinwill outfit fell short at the Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, as the American team outshone the Swiss outfit by quite some margin.
Kimi Raikkonen made his return to the grid with the team that gave his break in F1 almost two decades ago. He soldiered on to finish eighth, in a car which by his own admission was better than the results suggest.
Rookie Antonio Giovinazzi made an inauspicious start to his first full season in F1, but thankfully he did not put it in the wall and brought it home in 15th.
In comparison, also with Ferrari power units, Haas were well up the road and best of the rest, which is ultimately the benchmark Alfa Romeo need to target.
Nevertheless an encouraging start to the team which not long ago was last in the pecking order.
Alfa Romeo report from race day in Melbourne:
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal: “For the first race of the season, it was an ok race. We had some small issues which we could not have anticipated and both drivers put up a good fight.”
“We are returning home with 4 points, which is a positive. To start the season with one car in the top ten is a good achievement and we will push hard to score some more points at the next Grand Prix in Bahrain.”
Kimi Räikkönen, 8th: “Our car was pretty strong in the race, but then we got stuck behind cars and there is not much you can do. It seems that it is easier to get closer to the car in front of you but it’s still very hard to overtake.”
“In addition, we had an issue with the temperature of the rear brakes as one of the tear-offs from the visor went in and that’s why we had to pit earlier than planned. But as I said, the car has a lot of speed and it felt good, so I’m looking forward to the race in Bahrain.”
Antonio Giovinazzi, 15th: “It was a tough race. I picked up some damage to my car on lap 1 and after that it was challenging to stay up to speed. There were some battles and I did my best to defend my position. It was only the first race of the season, so I look forward to fighting for a stronger result in Bahrain.”