Alfa Romeo: the fight for fourth place in the team classification

Alfa Romeo: the fight for fourth place in the team classification

Alfa Romeo is sixth in the Constructors’ Championship. But the Swiss can also dream of fourth place. The car can compete with McLaren and Alpine. And the drivers keep getting better.

After two races, Alfa Romeo reported back in Montreal. Like Alpine, the Swiss Racing Team came from Canada with ten points. McLaren wrote a zero. Fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship is no longer an allusion to ninth place at last year’s World Championships. Still 14 points left. And now there are four racetracks that follow the Sauber C42. The unloved C5 tire is only used in Spielberg.

In the first third of the season the engineers continued to develop their car aggressively. Major upgrades were added in Jeddah, Imola, Barcelona and Baku. The strategy was clear: score points while direct opponents are weak. Now the design office in Hinwil has to slow down a bit. “It was always our plan to start with the 2023 car,” explains team boss Frederic Vasseur.

Bouncing or bottoming was no longer a problem for the Alfa Romeo after the test drive. The C42’s aerodynamics also work with greater ground clearance. Sauber is an all-rounder. It just doesn’t like corners that require a lot of steering, and it’s at loggerheads with Pirelli’s softest rubber compound. So Monte Carlo and Baku had only two points.

Alfa Romeo

With some safety car luck, Valtteri Bottas overcame Guanyue Zhou in Canada.

Strategists play two cards

In Montreal, the Confederates returned to normalcy. Guanyue Zhou qualified for Q3 for the first time. Valtteri Bottas didn’t jump there as he finished his last Q2 lap too early. “The track dried up so quickly that it got a second faster with every lap.” In the race, the Finn compensated for the unfortunate timing with a seventh place.

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Starting from position ten and eleven, Alfa Romeo played both cards. Bottas was sent out on a hard tyre for a one-stop race. Zhou initially followed the trend with medium tyres. “If your two cars start next to each other, you have to split your chances. There’s always a safety car in Montreal,” explained sporting director Beit Zehnder. Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin thought the same.

The strategy worked. Alfa Romeo got the pit stop timing perfect. Two of Zhou’s tire changes and Bottas’ one were placed in ineffectual stages of the race. Of the stoppers, only Bottas made it to the safety car on lap 49.

“We would have left Valtteri longer to wait for a safety car. He is incredibly good at tire management,” revealed Zander. A stop ban and perfect timing saved Bottas 22.9 seconds compared to his direct rival, Fernando Alonso.

Alfa Romeo - Canadian GP 2022

Alfa Romeo

The next segment should be Sauber-friendly before summer break.

problem reliability

The team also made a precise landing with Zhou. Sugar used the first VSC stage and safety car for his two pit stops and crossed the finish line in the team captain’s slipstream. Enough to take advantage of Alonso’s penalty. The Alpha Command Post reported the Spaniard to race management. Alonso changed lanes four times to block Bottas. The action could not be seen in the world signal of TV stations.

Zhou keeps getting better and better at Alfa Romeo. According to Xander, he is one of the best newcomers the team has ever seen. “His pace is incredibly good, especially in the race. He really should have a lot of points to his credit.”

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The fact that this is not the case is also due to the high sensitivity of the package to defects. The cooling system has leaked four times in the past. This site needs to be cleaned up by Silverstone. But there are fires in other places as well. In Montreal, Bottas lost another practice session, this time due to a fault in the gearbox controls. And with the drive, the ten-time GP winner is already at the limit with all the components.

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