Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo, Monza, 2022

Bottas – Slow upgrade production a ‘weakness’ of Alfa Romeo

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Valtteri Bottas says that development speed is “one of the weaknesses” of his Alfa Romeo team

In brief

Bottas – Slow upgrade production a ‘weakness’ of Alfa Romeo

Valtteri Bottas says that improving how quickly Alfa Romeo produce upgrades for their car is a “high priority” for the team.

Alfa Romeo currently sixth in the constructors’ championship on 52 points, but have only scored a single point in the last eight races after scoring 51 over the first nine. Bottas admits the team have been unable to maintain the development pace of some of their fellow midfield teams.

“I think the rivals – like for example, McLaren and Alpine – they have made more development than us and they’ve had more constant upgrades than us,” said Bottas. “We still have some things to come, I think it’s probably maybe Austin or Japan, some things, but I guess that’s going to be more or less it.

“I think we were one of the very few teams in the beginning of the year who were at the weight limits. I think many teams were overweight, but as they’ve come down now, so maybe that has made an effect as well. We know one of our weaknesses is the production speed, which is a high priority for the team for the future. We’re definitely aware of that.”

No grid expansions for Formula 2, F3 – Michel

Formula 2 and FIA F3 CEO Bruno Michel says he does not believe either series will look at increasing their grid sizes beyond their current level.

Formula 2 currently has 22 cars on its grid, while the FIA Formula 3 championship races with 30 cars in each of its rounds. Asked if he would be open to adding more teams to the series should Andretti seek to set up junior teams, Michel said sees no need to expand the grids further.

“I don’t think it would be good for the championships to add new teams,” Michel said. “There are always changes of teams, teams that want to stop, and in that case we can find new shareholders for the teams. It happened many times in the past, with GP2 and F2 and it will continue.

“I think 30 cars in F3 and 22 cars in F2 is a very good figure. I’ve got many requests of teams that would like to join both F2 and F3, but I’m always saying the same thing. We need always to be sure that we have more drivers than seats, because if we have less drivers than the seats, then the teams are in trouble. I think having 30 cars in F3 is already a fantastic achievement and I don’t want to increase that at all. And 22 cars in F2, we had in the past 26 cars, then we went down to 20 cars and now I think 22 cars is a very good number and I’m not planning to adopt a new team.”

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Comment of the day

With so much discussion over Colton Herta’s eligibility to race in Formula 1, is he truly worthy of an opportunity? Yes, says ShadowDraig

Having watched IndyCar for the first time this year I get why they want Herta and I probably wouldn’t have done had I not watched it. First thing to say is that Indycar is often called a spec series but it’s not really – it’s a sort of half spec series. It still matters what car you’re in and Herta’s team Andretti have not given him a car worthy of fighting for championships.

Secondly IndyCar is a lot more ‘random’ than F1. For example the Indy 500 (a race more to do with luck than anything else) was won by Ericsson which put him in with a serious chance of the title this year as it awards double points. Also there’s a lot of variation on whether a car suits a track – sometimes Herta’s Andretti team turned up with a car capable of winning and others it would be impressive to get 12th place. So consequently his position in the championship doesn’t tell the whole story.

What is obvious if you’ve watched the races is that he has talent – on occasions he was able to outclass the entire field (notably the Indy road course). He does however make a lot of mistakes – he looks like he’d be a Montoya/2016 Verstappen at first in F1 but I guarantee he’d be exciting. In time I think he’d develop into a very high level driver.

I think the FIA has tied themselves in a knot with this. Their super license system should not prevent somebody that’s competed at the top of Indycar for multiple years from competing in F1 but to change the rules specifically for Herta would have made a mockery of them – despite their own desire for an American driver.

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On this day in motorsport

Giancarlo Minardi, Imola, 2021
Giancarlo Minardi, Imola, 2021
  • Born today in 1947: Gian Carlo Minardi, founder of the team which raced in F1 from 1985 to 2005, was bought by Red Bull and is now AlphaTauri

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35 comments on “Bottas – Slow upgrade production a ‘weakness’ of Alfa Romeo”

  1. You could say Bottas himself is proving to be something of slow upgrade on his predecessor and compatriot.

    1. If Aston didn’t get this years concept so wrong, Alfa would be second to last.
      And who better to not push and not making overtakes difficult than Bo77as. When they tell him from the pitwall to save tyres, he drops two seconds off the pace immediately and never recovers. Ever. Even after the pitstop

    2. Bottas was best of the rest while the car was there.

      But you prefer Kimi because he’s rude on the radio.

      Priorities, right?

      1. Yeah, Bottas showed at the start of the season that he’s good at using a fresh car when it’s there for him.

        Still, Bottas’ comment strikes me as a bit odd for another reason: this cannot have been a surprise, as it has been the case for many years not at the team if I’m not mistaken.

  2. The feeling in the Indycar paddock regarding Colton Herta is one of immense frustration.

    It’s not simply because of Colton but because this issue with how points for the super licence are distributed is one that has been raised several times before including when the system was initially put forward. And it’s something that wasn’t/isn’t just been raised by Indycar but by a lot of categories that fall outside the FIA backed pyramid.

    And those frustrations aren’t just about the points but about how they are viewed by the FIA and now F1 as been inferior just because they don’t have full FIA backing.

    If a driver tests an F1 car and shows enough speed that a team wants to sign him then they should be allowed to sign him. Them been prevented from doing so just because he hasn’t raced in the FIA sanctioned route to F1 is indicative of how much of a closed shop that system and F1 itself is becoming……. Unless your a big manufacturer in which case they will bend over backwards to do whatever you ask for.

    They won’t allow a team with a history & passion for the sport as well as a history of success in multiple categories enter but if Porsche or any other manufacturer asked to enter as a team there entry would be accepted without any question.

    You would never get a team like Williams, McLaren, Minardi, Toleman, Tyrrell or Brabham in today’s F1 as they would never be allowed an entry.

    1. Right, in the same roundup RaceFans published the article that Herta wouldn’t be an option they shared an article that it might be an opening for Jack Doohan, a 19 year old that finished 4th in f2. The idea that he is better prepared than Herta is laughable. They also posted a Twitter hot take that the US should prevent anyone from racing in the US that hasn’t run the Indy 500. If blatant protectionism is fine, why not? If would be good for US racing so fair is fair.

      1. The idea that he is better prepared than Herta is laughable.

        Not at all on the better preparation angle, with Jack Doohan having competed in both Formula 3 and Formula 2 now, and having gained experience on many actual Formula 1 tracks and with Pirelli 18″ rubber.

        Doesn’t mean he’s necessarily quicker or slower than Colton Herta, but better prepared for Formula 1? Yes, that certainly applies.

    2. You would never get a team like Williams, McLaren, Minardi, Toleman, Tyrrell or Brabham in today’s F1 as they would never be allowed an entry.

      Even Ferrari wouldn’t fit in F1 as they used to be a small team founded by Enzo who was racing Alfas…

  3. Constantijn Blondel
    18th September 2022, 6:59

    Alex Rossi, you said it, man.

  4. It’s worth remembering in all this that Red Bull have invested huge amounts of money in their young driver programme, providing F3 and F2 seats for a number of talented young drivers (and a smaller number of not-so-talented ones). They have a bigger vested interest than almost anyone else in preserving the current system, having sunk so much money into buying superlicence points for their young drivers.

    And yet it is Red Bull who have been the ones to challenge the same system, looking outside the pyramid for a young driver they want to fast-track to F1, over and above the prospects they’ve spent years developing. What does that say about the quality of F3 and F2 as a proving ground for future F1 drivers? How can the present “pyramid” be sustained when even those who have poured the most money into it are admitting it’s not fit for purpose?

    1. I wouldn’t say RedBull have invested in the SL Points system, not willingly at least. They’ve been forced into it. Verstappen did F3 Euro one year (obv prior to the new points system). They tried to get Dan Ticktum into F1 from just F3 Euro (FIA blocked with new SL Points system). They seemed to like World Series by Renault etc… over F3/F2 (GP3/2 at the time). Trying to get Herta into F1 is within form for RedBull. I don’t think RedBull have ever felt it was fit for purpose.

    2. @red-andy
      The junior drivers program should be there to prepare next generation drivers but that doesn’t meant that RBR have to stick to it and turn a blind eye on interesting opportunities. RBR biggest success story Max Verstappen didn’t come from their junior drivers program. I read somewhere that Verstappen was the driver that RBR invested less money on to prepare to get to F1. Something round 150,000 £ to get him simulator runs, F1 test and practise outings…

      Perez also didn’t come from the RBR junior drivers program, though signing him proved decisive in last year WDC and this year WCC.

  5. I have said this before, but the system was to prevent Max Verstappen from entering F1. Not to prevent pay drivers like Nikita Mazepin into F1.

    It was dumb from the start. It was dumb when Max had a technical retirement from a point scoring position in his first race, only to get those points the next race in. It was dumb when he won his first race only a year later. It was dumb when he put on a master class in the rain in Brazil later that year. It was even still dumb when he won the championship. And it’s even dumber now that it’s actually preventing a talented driver from getting a seat in F1.

    FIA and FOM and all the teams rigidly holding this stupid system in place should, once again, put aside their shame and just acknowledge they made a mistake.

    1. @sjaakfoo
      The issue is that they are trying to measure talent which is unmeasurable using a metric which is the stupid super licence system. Kimi Raikkonen has an experience in 23 single seater events, that’s it. When he was testing for Sauber in Mugello, Schumacher instantly recognized his talent and kept watching him round the circuit. He went to Peter Sauber and said whoever was testing in that car is a fast driver. If a driver has talent and can demonstrate that he can drive a F1 car fast, he must be given the opportunity.

    2. The system is there to prevent amateurish reckless drivers in.

      Verstappen is a huge talent and even he took YEARS to overcome the lack of experience in most situations.

      Now imagine some lackluster 17 year olds coming in, because it’s allowed, how it would turn out.

      The system makes sense, what is wrong is to slam the door on an obvious capable driver (and not even underage) because of it.

      1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
        19th September 2022, 20:11

        No, instead we got some lackluster 18-year old and now we’re stuck with Lance Stroll for the next 15 years or so

  6. Rossi’s comment is pretty funny. If Herta is that good, why is he joint-ninth in a second-tier series?

    Oh but wait a moment, guess who is the other ninth-placed driver!

    1. @dang:
      I didn’t have a particular opinion on this topic. But reading all those driver reactions… Now I’m in favor of the system. I just really enjoy the malding

    2. You’re aware of the fact that you’re saying something like Fernando Alonso must be horrible because he is on his way to become 9th in F1? Or even worse in his McLaren-Honda time? Raw numbers and statistics can skew the reality

  7. Indeed a weakness & also for Haas.

    Last obstacles. I wonder if this means De Vries would join AT, after all.
    I remain reserved until any possible formal announcement like usual.
    However, this Silly Season has been somewhat more annoying than usual because of confusion & contradictions caused by mentioning a few drivers to more than one team, so the sooner an announcement comes from within the Alpine-Haas-Williams trio, the better.

    Own goal? Not really, as rules are rules, so FIA can’t make exceptions without a strongly justifiable reason.
    Changing things for the future is another matter, but just doing something to benefit a single driver, team, etc., would be wrong. On a similar note, I disagree with Alexander Rossi’s tweet. I like the ‘SL eligible’ shirt, though, & the fact someone even bothered making clothes with this term is weird.

    A WRC-related article for a change & while Neuville makes a good point, I still don’t necessarily share his view thoroughly.

    1. I like the ‘SL eligible’ shirt, though, & the fact someone even bothered making clothes with this term is weird.

      I like it, too. But I’d like it more if Josef had ever shown any ambition to be more than a big fish in the small pond called Indycar.

    2. A WRC-related article for a change & while Neuville makes a good point, I still don’t necessarily share his view thoroughly.

      It’s a good point from Neuville until you consider that you’re comparing a championship with 3 manufacturers to a championship with 10. Also I’d say Toyota, Hyundai and Ford are close on pace but need to consider the Hyundai spent most of the season falling apart and Ford have only really shown pace in Loeb’s hands.

  8. Formula 1 is the best example (of not being a driver’s championship), if you don’t have a good car, you can’t win.

    Of course F1 never intended to be a driver’s championship, it always was a team effort and mix between chassis, power unit, team, and driver.

    But you see that the best teams are able to lure the best drivers and the best drivers are able to feedback the development needs better.

    The best driver will not always win the WDC, but you will never find them in position 19 either.

  9. What the heck is with that Moto3 video? Which bright spark came up with the idea of just standing in the way and hoping nobody notices? If you’re going to cheat at least put some effort in.

    And if thats the best idea you have – look the other way or pretend you’re tying your shoelaces or something.

    1. @bernasaurus

      If you’re going to cheat at least put some effort in.

      I like that line. Briatore might want to have a word with you :)

      1. @tifoso1989 Ha! By the end of the week I’ll be all yachts, gold chains and watches. I’ll show him how it’s done.

        1. @bernasaurus
          Hahaha ! He is the ultimate master of shady tactics, no wonder he is best friend with Bernie. I’m sure they will give you a warm welcome to the club :)

  10. Secondly IndyCar is a lot more ‘random’ than F1. For example the Indy 500 (a race more to do with luck than anything else) was won by Ericsson which put him in with a serious chance of the title this year as it awards double points.

    I find this both cliché and somewhat uninformed. The only luck required for Marcus Ericsson to win the Indy 500 earlier this year was for his teammate to be caught speeding in the pit lane at his last stop.

    Marcus was running 2nd on merit and brought the victory home flawlessly after the late caution.

    That is not to say that Marcus winning the Indy 500 isn’t an indictment on the 31 other drivers that were genuinely slower on that day. Just that the role luck played was much smaller than the COTD seems to imply.

    1. I too found that particular part of the argument a bit off @proesterchen, unless one takes ‘luck’ to be whether a team find a good setup or not, which might be partly luck, but probably is a lot of guesstimate, and depends on how much effort the team puts in and surely a measure of the talent and experience of the team too.

      Still, the 500 especially, because it is so long, does have some of the same ‘luck’ as endurance races, in that a lot can happen in so many laps. But, on that day/week Marcus Ericsson and the team around his car didn’t set a foot wrong, while others had issues, bad luck, and some flawed strategy (given the circumstances). I feel that calling that lucky ignores a lot of the effort put in to win.

  11. Imagine Red Bull guys stopping Hamilton from leaving the pits.. If some drivers are idiots that goes far beyond..

  12. I dont want FIA to do better things for the betterment of other events.

    Since Formula One (also known as Formula 1 or F1) is the highest class of international racing for open-wheel single-seater formula racing cars sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

    Lets foucus on this first. Ultimately Live and let live.

    1. F1 is merely the peak of the FIA’s own open-wheel ladder system.
      Honestly, this idea that F1 is above other series (such as Indycar, Super Formula, WEC, Aussie Supercars, BTCC, etc etc) is pretty useless.
      They are all the peak of their respective ladders. They are not inferior to F1, just simply different.

  13. I also agree F1 is the best which is controlled by FIA.

    I feel F2, F3 or others maybe unspecific controlled by FIA is only acting as a tool for betterment of F1 really. I feel F1 is what things finally end up at.

    1. I don’t.
      I think F1 is merely an option for those who have competed in other FIA ‘development’ series.
      Drivers who are successful in those other series may move to F1, or to WEC, or Indycar or wherever they want to go, and should never be categorised as a failure, or inferior (or anything like that) for not competing in F1.

      A driver may only become FIA World Drivers Champion in F1 – but they can have a long, successful and fulfilling career anywhere.
      Not all drivers want to race in F1, anyway, even when presented with an opportunity.

      1. Ok. I understand.

        I think coverage wise F1 is the best other events of FIA if they are somewhere in the middle lack viewability.

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