Alfa Romeo has unveiled its 2021 Formula 1 car with a revised livery at a launch event in Poland.
The Sauber-run team revealed its latest version of a red-and-white colour scheme simultaneously with a show car in Warsaw and pictures released online of the C41 itself.
Reserve driver Robert Kubica – whose backer PK Orlen remains Alfa’s title sponsor, hence the Poland launch event – joined the team’s retained driver line-up Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi in showcasing the new livery.
Alfa has opted to spend its permitted development tokens on a new nose for the C41, which will be shaken down at Barcelona on Friday.
“Our 2021 car shares a lot of common parts with the C39, with the exception of those which the regulations forced us to change – such as the floor – and the nosecone, in which we invested our two development tokens,” said technical director Jan Monchaux.
“This means we will know the car much better than usual when we get to testing, but it’s still going to be crucial to make the most of those three days to verify that reality matches our expectations and to get to know the new tyres.
“We are ready for the new season and we can’t wait to see our new car on track.”
The car remains in red-and-white as Sauber heads into what could be the final year of its agreement to use the Alfa name.
Alfa extended its Sauber deal late last year to cover the 2021 season, although it is understood to be considering switching its branding to Formula E.
The team heads into the 2021 season off the back of a frustrating 2020 campaign in which its status as a Ferrari customer seriously restricted its performance.
Ferrari’s underpowered 2020 engine left both Alfa and Haas in a so-called ‘Class C’ fight with Williams at the back of the pack, often detached from the main midfield battle that Alfa had been a part of in 2019.
Alfa – with its C39 designed under new technical leadership of Jan Monchaux following Simone Resta’s mid-2019 return to Ferrari – was at least able to win its 2020 fight.
It finished eighth in the constructors’ championship, though its meagre haul of eight points came from top-10 finishes in only four grands prix.
Despite that, 2007 world champion Raikkonen was convinced to sign an extension with the team he joined from Ferrari in 2019, and the most experienced grand prix driver in F1 history heads into his 19th season in F1 at 41 years old.
He will again be partnered by Giovinazzi, whose glimpses of potential in the past two seasons have been augmented by Alfa’s role at the team and the desire for an Italian driver.
Though its retained line-up is one of the more underwhelming on the current grid, ranked below all except Haas’s all-rookie pairing by The Race’s experts, Alfa believes its drivers are capable of strong results in the midfield if they have the required machinery.
Team boss Frederic Vasseur said: “I think the philosophy upon which the team is based remains the same – we have to do a better job tomorrow than we are doing today.
“We finished last season in P8, so we have to target a better result in 2021.
“To do so, we have to keep improving in each department, trackside and back at HQ.
“Every team on the grid has very high expectations right now: all the teams expect to do a good job in the winter and to be in a good position for the first race, but soon it will be the time for everyone to show their cards.”
The car tasked with giving them that, the C41, has an unusual progression as a model number given last year’s car was the C39.
However, Alfa had begun work on what it is calling the C40 when major new technical rules were planned to be introduced for 2021.
With those rules postponed to 2022, Alfa opted to keep the C40 model number attached to the project, and thus christened the actual 2021 car the C41.