Improving poor starts “critical” to keeping ahead of Aston Martin, says Alfa Romeo

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In the round-up: Alfa Romeo’s head of trackside engineering Xevi Pujolar says that improving the team’s start performance will be “critical” to their efforts to keep Aston Martin behind them in the constructors’ championship

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In brief

Improving poor starts “critical” to keeping ahead of Aston Martin, say Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo’s head of trackside engineering Xevi Pujolar says that improving the team’s start performance will be “critical” to their efforts to keep Aston Martin behind them in the constructors’ championship.

The team have struggled from poor starts relative to their rivals, with both Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu losing multiple positions off the line and over the opening lap during many races this season. Alfa Romeo remain in sixth position in the constructors’ championship, but now are only eight points ahead of Aston Martin, who have outscored them by 29 points to one over the last nine rounds.

“The starts and lap one is something that for us is getting a bit critical,” admitted Pujolar. “We need to get out of these positions, losing places at the start on lap one.

“We’ll have some new parts coming at the next event again in Austin and the plan is, okay, another step in performance. Let’s see if we can have both cars in Q3 – and from there, we saw early in the season that then it’s easier starts on lap one – and fight for the points with both cars. That’s what we want to do. We want to increase the gap to Aston Martin again because they’re getting too close. That’s our the main target and our main worry in the next few races.”

Aron wins first FREC Catalunya race

Paul Aron, Mercedes junior driver, claimed victory in the first of two races in the Formula Regional European Championship at Barcelona yesterday.

The Prema driver won from pole position, holding off heavy pressure from Hadrien David over the closing laps, while team mate and championship leader Dino Beganovic failed to score any points with a 11th place finish.

Beganovic now leads the championship by 43 points over Gabriele Mini and Aron behind. The second race of the weekend will take place today.

Mercedes junior Antonelli takes German F4 title

Mercedes junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli secured the German Formula 4 championship title with victory in the penultimate race of the season at the Nurburgring.

The 16-year-old, competing in his first full year of car racing, won the first two of the final three races at the Nurburgring this weekend to seal the championship title after taking nine wins with one more race remaining.

The Mercedes junior driver has enjoyed a strong start to his car racing career in Formula 4, having claimed 22 race victories across the UAE, German and Italian F4 championships this year. Antonelli is also leading the Italian F4 championship, heading into the final round at Mugello next weekend.

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Comment of the day

With Nyck de Vries finally getting an opportunity to race in Formula 1 next season, @shimks is unsure whether the 28-year-old will have a long future in the world championship…

I loved watching him race in F2 – so exciting. It was such a disappointment when he shuffled over to Formula E rather than F1. But better late than never – I am very happy for him that he’s got his chance. He’ll already be 28 years old in February, which I put a lot of emphasis on and think is a great shame. It feels to me as if he’s already missed the boat, regardless how he does next year. I know that’s possibly a silly way to look at it but with such fantastic young marketable talent coming through and an amazing Dutch driver already on the scene, I somehow feel that it doesn’t matter how well he does at Alpha Tauri – even if he replaces Perez at Red Bull – he won’t be kept for very long. With Verstappen only just turning 25 years old and with probably years and years of top notch driving in the tank – and his seeming loyalty to his team – I don’t see a permanent place there for de Vries.

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On this day in motorsport

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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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4 comments on “Improving poor starts “critical” to keeping ahead of Aston Martin, says Alfa Romeo”

  1. Xevi, everyone knows the bad starts are on Ferrari, if I can recall the team introduced a new clutch for France.
    What is up with the high influx of spanish engineers in f1, mostly post Alonso, unfortunately the seem to be involved or mentioned when things go wrong it is either Leclerc and his race engineer or ferrari’s strategy team which is also spanish, now Xevi says something really strange.

  2. Time will tell, but unfortunately for De Vries, COTD’s point about his long-term prospect could be true.

  3. I’ve been reading up and watching some videos on Andrea Kimi Antonelli, the new German ADAC Formula 4 champion, almost definitely soon-to-be Italian Formula 4 champion. He does indeed seem like a great talent. He was spotted by Toto Wolff and signed up to the Mercedes Junior Team in 2019 and has recently turned 16 years old. Let’s see what’s next for him in 2023. An interesting prospect to keep our eyes on, if you’re into the junior categories.

  4. Tough news from Kurt Busch

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