Hungarian GP 2022
Alfa Romeo has been waiting for championship points since the Canada GP. There is speed, but there are many obstacles in the way of success. Retirement, poor starts, instability in alternate strategies and sharp corners all slowed the pace with which the team started the season.
It is fascinated. World Cup points seem to be within reach, but somehow they don’t want to come up. Often something comes out at the last moment, which sometimes has its origins at the beginning of the race. Alfa Romeo awaits championship points for four races. It’s no consolation if cars and drivers can do more. It is more likely that Haas, Alfa Tauri and Williams are not doing better. Alpine and McLaren are currently out of reach.
In the Hungarian GP, the starting grid gave hope. From starting positions 8 and 12 you can drive to the points with two cars. But then, as is often the case, the chances fell short in the early stages. Valtteri Bottas and Guanyue Zhou each lost five places in the first 4,381m. This forced the team into a one-stop strategy, which did not work as hard tires disappointed not only Charles Leclerc, but also the Alfa drivers. Bottas was in points position for nine laps from the end when Aston Martins overtook him on fresher tyres.
fault already six times
Bottas once again did not see the checkered flag. Like in Jeddah and Silverstone. Like ally Zhou in Miami, Barcelona, Baku and Paul Ricard. “Reliability is a weak point,” Bottas admits. Its owner also sees it that way. Not everything is the responsibility of the team. Drive unit is included and also one or the other supplier. But Vasseur also admits: “Perhaps some of the disadvantage is the cost of making an extremely light car.”
Weight was still a clown at the start of the season. less now. The competition is getting less and less. Alpine, McLaren and Haas are now less than three kilograms below the minimum weight. Aston Martin is on the limit.
The Swiss racing team must have wanted points so badly. For morale, confirmation of good work and of course score. Sauber is one of the teams operating under the budget cap. Ten million dollars according to team owner Frédéric Vasseur. However, this year you have 27 new sponsors and partners in your portfolio. That is why the World Cup, ranked ninth in the 2021 World Cup, plays a decisive role. If Hinvil’s squad is in seventh place, the gap will be closed and the budget cap will be reached. If you were in the sixth year, you would have an extra eight million dollars in your pocket.
Ultimate Upgrade to Suzuka or Austin
Alpha is currently in 6th place. To keep it that way, the racing team will have to step on the gas. A new underbody arrived in Hungary. It is designed to reduce the instability of the car in sharp corners. “We have the next upgrade at Monza. And then there are plans to do something big for Suzuka. But it could also be Austin,” warns Vasseur. This will already be the anticipation of the 2023 car, which is being worked diligently since the beginning of July.
For the chasing teams, it is becoming increasingly important that everything goes smoothly from the first practice lap to the checkered flag on Friday. “When ten cars collide in two tenths, you can’t stand the slightest mistake,” demands Vasseur. So unscheduled disruptions are more fatal for smaller teams than for larger ones.
Vasseur supports neither the underbody directive coming into force from Spa nor the new rules coming in 2023. “One change often involves many others. We need the opposite. Stability of regulations to keep costs down. I don’t mind messing around at Spa. What does the FIA do when cars are barely in Eau Rouge? touches as usual? Will they all have to go 30 millimeters high?”
The safety argument doesn’t last as it is the responsibility of the teams to get the safe cars on the grid. Vasseur is optimistic that teams don’t have a problem with it: “We’re famous for creating problems and solving them again.”
When it comes to the driver question, Vasseur doesn’t let himself run out of his reserve. You have options, time and good people under contract. On Zhou, Sauber has a choice. Junior driver Theo Porcharier is under observation.
Incidentally, Zhou has yet to start a sponsorship boom from China. So far, two Chinese companies are on the car. “It’s not enough for Chinese companies to have a compatriot just on board. They only work with you if the performance is just right,” Vasseur says.