(Reuters) - Alfa Romeo will not develop their new Formula One car beyond the summer in order to give themselves the best shot at a step up in 2022, technical director Jan Monchaux said on Monday.
With sweeping new rules next year and a budget cap now in place, the Swiss-based team cannot afford to spend time and money on improvements that may bring scant reward in terms of points.
"We've got a mountain to climb for 2022," Monchaux told Reuters in a video interview after the online launch of the red and white C41 car in Warsaw's Grand Theatre, the venue reflecting Polish sponsors Orlen.
"We've got to do a complete car, under the budget cap, and that is a monster challenge for a company like ours."
Next year represents a real chance to reset the clock and return to the midfield, after finishing eighth for three years in a row.
The current cars are a close evolution of the 2020 ones with some aerodynamic tweaks, but 2022 marks a big change of direction with bigger 18-inch tyres also thrown into the equation.
"The more time we spend on the '21 (car), the less resource we will have to make a good job on the '22," said Monchaux.
He said the team had been 'carrying an anchor' since 2017, when they raced as Sauber and finished 10th overall and as much as four seconds off the pace.
"If you start a new era with such a deficit, it's simply game over," he said. "So 2022, we can't miss that deadline and I think most of the teams will be thinking the same.
"We won't bring updates after the summer, that's quite clear.
"You might have some people fighting for the title, they might be willing to push (development) longer because it's a unique opportunity to be champion, but we are certainly not going to do that.
"We will stop way earlier than in a normal season, also because of the budget cap."
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)