Alfa Romeo Racing has shown signs of progress in the recent Qatar Grand Prix, with its drivers Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu finishing in eighth and ninth place respectively. This performance has lifted the Hinwil team above Haas in the constructors’ table, now sitting just seven points behind Williams. The team’s steady improvement can be attributed to a series of new parts introduced over the past few races, including the latest addition of a beam wing that proved to be a crucial component in enhancing the car’s overall performance.
Valtteri Bottas expressed his satisfaction with the team’s recent steps, stating, “I feel like we definitely made some progress now, and finally understand 100% the upgrades.” While acknowledging the positive developments, Bottas also acknowledged the need for further improvement, noting that the team still struggles with straight-line speed and drag. Despite this, Alfa Romeo Racing demonstrated increased competitiveness throughout the weekend.
A Promising Addition: The Beam Wing
The introduction of the beam wing in Qatar played a significant role in consolidating Alfa Romeo Racing’s recent upgrades. Bottas, when asked about the benefits of the new component, stated, “It definitely helps a little bit. But we’re still draggy. I think we’re probably still the slowest on the straight, so something to work on.” While the team acknowledges that there is room for improvement in terms of straight-line speed, the beam wing has undoubtedly contributed to their improved performance.
Varying Strategies for Success
Both Alfa Romeo Racing drivers employed different strategies for the Qatar race. Bottas started on soft tires, making an early pitstop under the safety car, followed by three long stints. Meanwhile, Zhou took a contrasting approach, starting from the back of the grid and opting for a long opening run before a brief outing on soft tires towards the end. Bottas commended the team’s strategic decisions, although he acknowledged that external factors, such as retirements of other drivers, played a role in his advancement through the order.
Fortunate Circumstances and Determination
Bottas noted, “A really clean race. Good strategy. Of course, it felt a bit strange to stop after three laps from a good position! But in the end, that meant all the rest of the stints were just equal stints, and we thought that would be the fastest way to the flag and it was, so happy with that.” The Finn attributed some of their success to fortunate circumstances, with retirements of Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz aiding their progress. However, Bottas emphasized the importance of seizing opportunities and executing their race plan effectively.
Zhou, after a series of disappointing races, expressed relief at returning to the points. He praised the team’s efforts and highlighted his battle with Sergio Perez, stating, “It was an amazing race. Firstly, very happy to get points for the team. From my side starting P19, it was not easy, fighting with Sergio at the beginning. I knew if I kept him behind, maybe I’d have a chance. And that was the case, the laps I held him helped me for the end stint and catching him.”
Zhou acknowledged that catching up to Williams still poses a significant challenge, but he views it as a motivating target for Alfa Romeo Racing. The team believes that they possess superior racecraft compared to Haas, evident from their successful overtaking maneuver in Qatar. However, Zhou emphasized the need to improve their qualifying performances, which have been inconsistent in recent events.
Alfa Romeo Racing has undoubtedly made progress in recent races, as demonstrated by their improved performance and results. The inclusion of new parts, particularly the beam wing, has played a crucial role in enhancing their competitiveness. While the team acknowledges the need for further improvements, their recent success has boosted morale and instilled a determination to continue their ascent in the constructors’ championship. With a target in mind and a clear understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, Alfa Romeo Racing is poised for further growth in the upcoming races.