Fifth behind Ferrari and Red Bull “a good target” for Alfa Romeo – Bottas

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In the round-up: Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas says his team should target being “best-of-the-rest” behind Ferrari and Red Bull.

In brief

Alfa Romeo ‘should aim to be best-of-the-rest’ – Bottas

Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas says that his team should target being “best-of-the-rest” behind Ferrari and Red Bull.

Bottas sits ninth in the championship after a sixth place finish in Bahrain and a retirement in Saudi Arabia. After qualifying sixth and eighth over the first two race weekends, Bottas says that being consistently at the front of the midfield is what Alfa Romeo should be aiming for over the rest of the season.

“I think that needs to be the target now,” Bottas said. “We seem to be more or less in the same place than in Bahrain, even though I thought [Saudi Arabia] could be maybe more difficult.

“I think aiming to be the best-of-the-rest is good motivation and a good target. So hopefully eventually we can fight for fifth position in the race – that would be a good step for us.”

Ocon relishes racing against “legend” team mate Alonso

Esteban Ocon said fighting his world championship-winning team mate Fernando Alonso is a “privilege” following their spirited duel in the last round.

Ocon and Alonso fought hard over the early phase of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with Alonso eventually passing his Alpine team mate. Ocon believes it is a good sign that he and his team mate are able to race each other hard.

“He’s great on race craft, we know that,” said Ocon. “He’s extremely fast. Fighting the legend himself, it’s always a privilege. So it’s good that we can race so close and it’s good that we can push this team forward.”

Australia a “special race” for Norris

Lando Norris says that he is looking forward to racing at Albert Park for the first time since making his grand prix debut in 2019.

The Australian Grand Prix has not been held since the 2019 event due to the impact of the Covid pandemic. Norris is excited to race at Albert Park again.

“I’m looking forward to getting out on track in the new car in Melbourne, especially with the changes they’ve made since we last raced there three years ago,” Norris said.

“I’m excited to see what progress we can make. It’s a special race for me, as I made my debut there in 2019 and with the pandemic, we haven’t raced there since, so I’ve been working hard in the sim to get back up to speed with the track, especially with the new changes.

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Comment of the day

The announcement of a fourth DRS zone at Albert Park this weekend has received a cynical response from many, but @kaiie thinks it could make for an eventful grand prix…

Trying to be positive here: correct me if I’m wrong, but Albert Park has been notoriously bad for overtaking. Passing here requires something special. Especially the run into turn one is too short (both the straight and the braking phase), and with the previous cars it required nailing the first chicane to have any chance of overtaking into turn three (and usually something else, like massive tyre difference). And the back section of the track: no overtaking.

With the addition of the fourth zone, I’d expect these cars to be able to pass both into turn three and into turn 13. And if the first two races of the season set the scene, we might see some passing and repassing this weekend: someone passes you into turn three? No worries, you can follow through the next few corners, get DRS, gain some slipstream, manage to stay close through the fast chicane, and repass them into turn 13. Rinse and repeat. Artificial? Maybe. Fun? Sure.

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On this day in motorsport

Mansell’s march to the title continued today in 1992
  • 30 years ago today Nigel Mansell led the third consecutive one-two for Williams at the start of the season at Interlagos.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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22 comments on “Fifth behind Ferrari and Red Bull “a good target” for Alfa Romeo – Bottas”

  1. Neil (@neilosjames)
    5th April 2022, 0:50

    Think CoTD is right – on a normal circuit four zones would be silly, but I don’t think it’s a bad idea for Albert Park.

    Even with the track changes, I can’t say I’m thrilled about seeing another race there because it’s not been a good place for racing for about 20 years. It’s bad enough in a normal season, but in 2022 it doesn’t have first race novelty value for either us or the teams/drivers (which is a very potent weapon) so… hoping for the best but expecting the worst. Anything to give a bit of a boost is welcome, even if it’s something I’m not keen on.

    And it’s not like the number of DRS zones really matters, anyway. Four zones sounds like a lot, but we’ll probably see less impact from DRS here than we will at other circuits which will only have two zones (Spa or COTA, for example)…

    1. This attitude is the fatal flaw that allowed the sport to get sucked in to this absurd dependence on DRS. In F1, it does not need to be easy to overtake. We’ve had numerous great races at Albert park over the years without DRS, on the original circuit and with cars that are difficult to overtake in.

      ‘Number of passes’ is an utterly useless metric for the quality of the race if they are all mundane motorway style overtakes. I’d far rather see someone defending skillfully any day.

      To my mind the problem is threefold: too difficult to follow closely because of aero sensitivity (this seems to have been solved up to a point), too difficult to follow closely because tyres overheat (ditch pirelli please!) and cars too easy to drive so no one makes any errors (natural track limits, more competitive grid, more cars on track). The answer to none of these problems is a horrible gimmick like DRS.

      1. And this is my cotd !!!

      2. Yep, that’s it. + 1,000. Also broadcasters aren’t fooling nobody anymore when they start screaming during DRS-overtakes that are completed 200 metres before the braking zone. I find that increasingly irritating.

  2. Far out, that article about Robbie Williams was frustrating to read. Events were cancelled across the world and people lost money as a result. The upside is that potentially hundreds of people who would have attended his event didn’t contract Covid nor did a percentage of those people die… Surely that would be a dangerous precedent if he is successful.

  3. Ocon, you are lucky Alonso has such ability with that block you threw on him

    1. Yeah, Esteban, a lesser driver would have smashed into your gearbox, the wall or both. Pretty dangerous driving to close the space like that in the last moment. It looks specially bad when the other guy is your teammate. I’d like to hear what they told you about that in the debriefing behind closed door. Not pretty, surely.

  4. Artificial? Maybe. Fun? Sure.

    TBH I don’t find the DRS passing/repassing to be fun at all & for me it just feels even more artificial & i get no enjoyment out of watching it.

    I’ve never liked DRS & at this point I doubt that i ever will. I simply cannot stand the type of passing or racing it creates, It’s essentially the complete opposite of what i want to see & what i enjoy watching.

    I’m just completely fed up with it now & the fact it’s working & been used the same way this year with more zones been added & it been as powerful as its been with basically all the passing happening due to it just really disappoints & frustrates me as this was meant to be the year they started to back away from it.

    I want to see some proper racing where we don’t have to watch for 1 second gaps as detection points with buttons been pushed to open wing flaps at a line in pre determined passing zones with a car bwhind having such a big overspeed that he sails past with ease at the push of a button.
    I just want to see some good wheel to wheel racing with overtaking down to good racecraft & driver skill rather than gimmicks giving huge overspeeds.

    I dream of the day i finally see the headline that says DRS going to be taken off the cars. I may even cry tears of joy that day.

    1. You know you could just watch something else?

      1. Or they could experiment removing DRS. The Majority of fans don’t like it, its a gimmick. Doesn’t mean we should just go watch something else

        1. Are you sure the majority don’t like it, @broke1984?
          It seems like a pretty even split from what I’ve seen.

          While the idea of DRS is a bit unpleasant, the effects it produces are often seen as a positive.

    2. I think it might be time you moved away from open-wheelers and into touring cars or GT series, @stefmeister.
      They seem much more like what you say you want to see.
      I’d even suggest a more driver-focused series such as Indycar or pretty much any other spec series. They rely almost entirely on driver skill, racecraft and feel rather than data, tech and ‘gimmicks.’
      F1 will always be about the machines and what the (software) engineer boffins can, and are allowed to, do with them.

      F1 never promised they’d move away from DRS. Sometimes someone from within F1 says they’d like to, but it’s never actually been put into a firm plan. Just a ‘maybe, but probably not – we’ll see how we go’ kind of thing.

      1. I used to watch touring cars a lot 20-25 years ago but I dislike a lot of the gimmicks that started to creep in with things like reverse grids, random grid draws & success ballast as well as the move towards multiple shorter races.

        I watch GT & Sportscar series occasionally but I never get the same enjoyment out of them & always end up falling out of the season after a few races as my preference has always been single seater open wheel series.

        I do watch Indycar & I do enjoy it (Although I think it’s a shadow of what it was pre CART/IRL split) but it just doesn’t bring me the same level of excitement as F1 does because I love what F1 is with teams designing there own cars, The higher level of technology & development & the speed/performance of the cars… The thrill & spectacle of F1 is something no other series, no other category & no other championship has ever been able to replicate for me.

        I don’t want to move onto something else, I don’t want to stop watching F1…. I just want F1 to move away from the gimmicks & that going by F1’s own surveys seems to be a view which is shared by a majority of fans.

        1. The thing I dislike about DRS is that allows faster cars, (Lewis/Max etc) starting at the rear of the grid to end up pretty much where they should have been by the end of the race. They can simply breeze past the midfield cars without any battling at all. Commentators seem to laud this as a master drive from the rear of the field to the podium when I feel like it is a dishonour to all past champions who actually had to do this with the tool they had been given.

          The thing I like about DRS is for the cars that are running similar lap times it gives them a chance to dice rather than sit in a queue and it requires some strategy to be employed by the attacking and defending driver.

          I’d still rather not have it though.

  5. @stefmeister, +1 on DRS, -1 on the “Unbearable lightness of been”.

  6. I don’t have an issue with DRS, I have an issue with how they utilise it. Why don’t they let drivers use DRS to get close rather than be able to complete the move? For example, in Bahrain, have DRS on the run to Turn 4, Turn 11 and the final corner, but let drivers work for their overtake into Turn 1 without a DRS zone. They need to start being more flexible with DRS zones and tuning it to the requirements of the track. I personally think DRS is fine at tracks like Silverstone, Hungary, Monza, Austin etc. but at some tracks it’s completely ridiculous. Baku has a 2.2km straight, why do we need a DRS zone there? Why not have DRS zones around the back straights and leave the main overtaking point alone? Same with the Kemmel Straight and the main straight in Saudi. Let DRS get them within range then they have to overtake with it.

  7. Good luck with this ambitious target because I highly doubt Alfa could outscore Mercedes over a season.

    Substitutions will most likely remain Hulkenberg’s only chances, as his regular driver days are effectively over, given how long he’s been away for his success (more than a single season has generally proved unideal for drivers without success in the series).

    COTD raises a good point, but I still keep my stance that the full-throttle section from 6 to 9 shouldn’t have an activation zone in the first place on safety grounds.

  8. I’m keen to see Audi/VW/Porsche in F1 but not at the expense of McLaren… Perhaps they keep the name and buy the road car division as well but I expect they’re wanting to splash one of their existing brands. I’m starting to dread how this is going to play out…

  9. If you didn’t watch the Daniel Ricciardo video about his new wine. Do. :D

  10. @1nkling What is it with F1 drivers and drinks. Trulli has his own wineyard Fisichella has some bottles named after him. Bottas with his coffee company. Now Ricciardo with his own wine and of course Kimi.

  11. Yay, thanks for the COTD :)

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