Alfa Romeo unwrapped the C38- their 2019 F1 challenger with the ‘Iceman’ Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi in attendance at the Circuit De Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.
The white and red liveried car is expected to spice up the battle for the midfield with familiar competition (as also seen in 2017), expected from the likes of Haas, McLaren, Renault and, Racing Point Force India.
The team’s return to the white and red color scheme, however, comes after it having given a glimpse of the car to fans and the fraternity via the heart-themed camouflage livery as seen the other day on the occasion of the Valentine’s day.
That said, the Swiss team’s all-new line-up, interesting that it may seem, aligns the oldest driver on the grid, Kimi Raikkonen, approaching 40 in a few months, teaming up with Antonio Giovinazzi, 25, who’s yet to drive in one full season in Grand Prix racing.
Although Giovinazzi, the 2015 Formula 3 championship runner-up and a product of the Ferrari driver academy may be without experience, his natural talent should hold him in good stead.
But the Kimi-Antonio alliance, in some ways, bears a resemblance, if not in absolute terms, then in some ways to the pairing of Robert Kubica, 34, 2019’s biggest comeback factor (should the race results also compliment the occurrence) at Williams, where the Pole would be driving alongside Lance Stroll, 20, the son of the team’s owner, Mr. Lawrence Stroll.
However, while this mélange of the exuberance of youth in Antonio Giovinazzi and the promise of experience in Raikkonen may appear an unlikely force to some to boost the Hinwill-based outfit’s 2019 chances, given other teams are more evenly balanced and powerful in driver-pairing, it would be unwise to undermined the C38, powered by the Ferrari engine.
Moreover, Kimi Raikkonen’s return to the outfit that launched his F1 career, after a gap of 18 years is the biggest plus for a side that will be looking to punch above its weight, if it has to cause a few upsets to the likes of close competitors of which one would include Racing Point, Toro Rosso, Haas, McLaren, and Williams.
But if Alfa Romeo, who were only recently rechristened, are to punch above their weight, then all eyes would be on the man who might help them do it.
Kimi Raikkonen, previously upon his return to the sport, in 2012, gave Lotus Renault what few would’ve expected; not just a race win at the Abu Dhabi GP, but going as far as gathering a third-place finish on the driver’s rankings, behind Vettel and Alonso.
But for that to happen, one cannot rely on conjecture or wild imaginations, right? For a sport utterly embedded in the ‘now’, a lot will boil down to how the car fares in winter testing, which is just about to begin.
For now, lights out and away we go!