Seeing off the Aston Martin charge to clinch P6, Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur talked up the importance of that boost in prize money.
There was a time early in the season where Alfa Romeo looked a solid bet for the ‘best-of-the-rest’ P4 spot in the Constructors’ Championship, though as teams started to lighten their cars and dull this advantage which Alfa Romeo were enjoying, the results began to dry up for the Swiss team.
In the 13 races to the end of the campaign, Alfa Romeo would pick up only four points as an improving Aston Martin team closed in, looking to deny them P6 in the final Constructors’ standings.
But Alfa Romeo held on, finishing tied with Aston Martin on 55 points but ahead thanks to a best result of P5, Sebastian Vettel having been unable to pass Daniel Ricciardo in Abu Dhabi, which would have swung P6 Aston Martin’s way.
Although it is not made public how much more prize money each position is worth to a team, Vasseur made reference to the value of an extra $10million.
And in reference to such a number, Vasseur said this can make a big difference for the team moving forwards.
“For us it’s the best way to have a good winter, everyone goes into the winter with a positive frame of mind,” Vasseur told Motorsport.com.
“That is very important. For us it is always important to have some kind of fight with Aston Martin, that is a nice goal for us. And it will also help on the financial side.
“We are under the budget ceiling, but any kind of extra income makes a big difference. We will see that next year, but it will definitely help. I know some teams say you can’t do anything with $2 million, but with $10 million we can do a lot.”
Alfa Romeo’s strategy on race day in Abu Dhabi was geared towards keeping Aston Martin out of the points, Vasseur saying that Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu “both played for the team” as they set out to be the most frustrating roadblocks to Vettel and Lance Stroll that they could possibly be.
That being said, when Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire, promoting Aston Martin into a double points-paying position, Vasseur suddenly became a Ricciardo superfan.
“It was more than exciting,” said Vasseur in regards to the closing stages of the race. “I was pretty confident until Lewis dropped out. They [Stroll and Vettel] both moved up a position which made it tougher.
“In the last laps, I was the biggest fan of Daniel Ricciardo. If Vettel had got past it would have been a very different story. But it’s a great achievement and an important encouragement for next year.”
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