Track Tips - Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN

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With the Formula 1 2021 season in full swing, we asked Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN’s Team Principal, Frédéric Vasseur for his top strategic tips. Whether you’re watching the latest race, or playing F1® Clash, here’s the inside track!

Q. What are your top 5 pre-race strategic tips for the 2021 season?


  1. Expect the unexpected: races can be chaotic

  2. Plan ahead: it’s a long season, the longest ever, and it is important to manage the team for the long run

  3. Pick your moment – especially with a view to the future

  4. Get the most out of your people: personnel is the team’s most precious resource

  5. Survive the first corner: as they say, to finish first, first you have to finish…

Q.What tracks do you see posing the biggest challenge this year, from a strategic perspective?

A.Every track can be a challenge, but strategy gains even more importance in those circuits where on-track overtakes are difficult – none more so than Monaco.

Q. What are the most important factors to consider when deciding on tyre choices for each track?

A.Rely on the data and trust your people. The drivers have a direct feel on how the car is working; the engineers have all the data. They are the ones with the best information to make the right call.

Q. What is the most difficult strategic decision you’ve ever had to make during a race?

A.There have been many! The most difficult ones are when the weather is a big question mark. You can be a hero or destroy a race in a single call.

Q.How do drivers with different styles and strengths influence your racing strategy?

A.Each driver has skills that can help a strategy come to life: some can make tyres last longer; some can deliver a string of qualifying-like laps to make up lost ground. The key is knowing what you can ask your driver to do.

Q. How do you adapt your strategy with last minute changes to the weather?

A.You have to look at what’s going on now, in five minutes and in half an hour. Sometimes, you just have to make a judgment when you don’t have the full information, but in the end this is why this is so fascinating.

Q.What are the top skills/attributes needed to be a successful F1 race strategist?

A. You need to be able to play 19 chess games at once: an analytical mind and great feeling for data and patterns are essential.

Q. It can sometimes be difficult to get drivers to buy into a bold strategy during the heat of the race. Do you have any examples of where a strategy call took some convincing, but ultimately paid off?

A.F1 is a team sport: we employ tens of people whose job is to analyse, study, crunch data. Drivers know that and trust the calls of the team: at the same time, they’re the ones out there, those who can get first-hand feedback from the track and sometimes they are the ones who can help us make the right call.

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