Entering the Formula 1 paddock in 2016, Frederic Vassuer reckons last year’s reaction to the pandemic was the first time he had even seen all the F1 parties pull together.
Last season Formula 1 was forced to take dramatic steps to ensure the survival of the sport and all of its teams.
With the season put on hold in March when the Australian Grand Prix was called off just two hours before FP1, the teams, the FIA and Liberty Media banded together.
They not only agreed to push what would have been the new 2021 regulations back a year but also to race this year’s cars in next year’s championship in order to cut costs.
The teams also wavered their right to veto changes to the calendar, giving Liberty Media the scope to set out a 17-race calendar.
A lowering of the budget cap was another decision all the parties agreed to as well as signing a new Concorde Agreement.
Alfa Romeo boss Vasseur says that co-operation was the “first time” he’d ever seen all those involved in F1 come together.
“You know, the feeling was very strange because, in March, I was very scared to not be able to race at all,” he told GPFans Global. “To have a completely wiped season.
“The reaction, I was quite happy with the reaction from the Formula 1 world, especially the FIA, Jean [Todt] was pushing like hell with FOM and the teams, that we found agreement.
“I think it was the first time we were able to have this kind of attitude, let’s say. We signed the Concorde Agreement, the budget cap.
“But then, when we came back to the reality in July, we had the 17 races to do in five months, for sure it was tough.”
When the season did start, though, it was anything but a success for Alfa Romeo.
Lacking pace, which was largely blamed on the Ferrari engine powering the C39, the team scored just eight points to finish P8 in the standings, five points ahead of fellow Ferrari powered team Haas.
Vasseur concedes it was a trying year for the team but applauded its fight-back.
“The first motivation for the team is you need to get results because the Monday morning is always easier when the Sunday went well,” he said.
“With the very tough start to the season we had, I am quite proud of the reaction of the team.
“The first four or five events were very difficult for us but the reaction was okay and now we have to be focused on the future.”