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Alfa Romeo’s Last Year in Formula One

Valtteri Bottas (number 77) at the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix (Photo: FIA Media)

Alfa Romeo’s 2023 season was not ideal for them.

Last year, in the 2022 season, they managed to score 55 points. This year, they just managed to score 16 points, placing the team in the penultimate place of the Constructor Standings.

Alfa Romeo’s deal with Sauber expired at the end of the 2023 season. The Swiss team has confirmed the renaming of the team. slated to be revealed on Jan. 1, 2024, as the team confirmed via Instagram.

Going back to Alfa Romeo’s performance, after a decent 2022 season, the team had huge expectations for the 2023 season. This expectations and hopes quickly disappeared as the team struggled more to score points as the season progressed.

The team kept their driver pairing the same as the previous season with Valtteri Bottas and the former rookie, Guanyu Zhou. Both drivers possessed more experience and more familiarizaiton with their F1 machines.

Alfa Romeo presented some updates during the season like at the British Grand Prix. By the time they arrived at Silverstone Circuit, site of the 11th round, they made some updates to the floor, diffuser and rear suspension.

Even so, they did not manage to keep up with the other teams’ more noticeable updates, falling behind in the standings as they kept struggling to score points.

At the end of the season, the team just managed to score points on seven occasions. They only reached Q3 seven times, had six DNFs and their best finish position was eighth place.

It was not the ideal season the team was looking forward to as Bottas even admitted he could “see them slipping behind rivals.”

Valtteri Bottas (15th in the standings with 10 points)

Bottas was the driver that scored the most points for the team. 10 points were surely not what Bottas hoped for as he entered the season. He out-qualified his teammate 16 times this season.

Namely, Bottas’ best races were Bahrain and Qatar where he managed to score four points in both races, finishing eighth, his highest finishing position. He was also the most overtaken driver of the season, getting overtaken 104 times by the rest of the grid.

Compared to his previous seasons in F1, where he finished second on the standings, this season did not allow the Finn to show his full potential as a driver.

Speaking more on the personal side, Bottas seemed more relaxed and confident with himself. He was either rocking a mullet, a bucket hat or raising $150,000 for charity with his calendar named “Bottass 2024” which featured various pictures of his backside.

“Previously, I almost felt bad doing fun stuff, almost had a feeling that I’m not allowed to have fun. But as I’ve learned more about myself, I do way more things that I want to do instead of what I think I’m supposed to do,” Bottas admitted to the media.

Zhou Guanyu (18th in the standings with six points)

Zhou only managed to score six points compared to the ten points scored by his teammate, which was the same amount of points he scored the previous year. His highest position was ninth and he managed to out-qualify his teammate only six times.

The Chinese driver’s 2023 season did not seem too far off his 2022 season, even keeping the same position in the driver’s standings. This year’s car was not up to measure this year, so this might be one of the main reasons of his lack of development.

Zhou’s season was average. It was not spectacular but he did not make any critical errors either. Surely, it seemed fair to expect Zhou’s development to improve with next year’s car slated to be at least better than the C43.

Zhou Guanyu (number 24) at the 2023 Miami Grand Prix (Photo: FIA Media)

Looking ahead for 2024 

With the team getting renamed, many new expectations appear especially because 2026 is getting closer. Primarily, Audi and Sauber are partnering up to introduce a new team to the grid. This will bring much needed financial support for this team and will help it grow.

Going back to the 2024 season, Alfa Romeo is keeping their driver pairing the same. As for the car, since November of 2023, the team decided to commit and put all their focus on their 2024 car after getting to the conclusion that the C43’s concept had hit a point where it could not be fixed.

With the arrival of the new technical director, James Key, the team did a full analysis and decided to start from scratch for the 2024 model. Alfa Romeo’s team principal, Alessandro Alunni Bravi, spoke to the media about this.

“We reviewed completely the project, together with him, and thanks to his experience we went through an in-depth analysis of all the areas of the car, taking decisions,” he said. “So, next year’s car will not be an evolution of this year’s car, because we think that there are some limits in this concept that we cannot exploit further.

“So, we will really have a completely new car from chassis to suspension, everything, all the areas. Of course, it’s easy to identify the problems, but then you need to be able to fix them. So, we are working hard, the group is growing.”

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