Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo, Circuit of the Americas, 2022

Alfa Romeo pleased with US GP upgrade despite another points-free race

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In the round-up: Alfa Romeo’s head of trackside engineering Xevi Pujolar explains the gains Alfa Romeo made from their upgraded floor.

In brief

Alfa Romeo have pace but need points

Alfa Romeo have only scored once in the last 10 grands prix, but the team believes their upgraded floor has propelled them back up the competitive order.

Both of the team’s cars had the pace to qualify in the top 10 with the new floor, but a spin for Valtteri Bottas and an 18th place starting position for Zhou Guanyu meant the team failed to score and are now only point ahead of Aston Martin.

“It’s a step that we were expecting, it’s another small step in the right direction,” head of trackside engineering Xevi Pujolar said.

“That brought us close to the top of the midfield. We saw in qualifying that we have both cars coming in Q3 level, and then the lap was deleted for Zhou because he had very slight track limits in turn 12, and it was enough to delete his lap time.

“We had only one session, we checked that everything was working as expected because FP2 was the Pirelli test, and we could see that everything was working within expectations in terms of the [upgrade].”

A gust of wind was cited for Bottas’s race-ending spin, and Zhou made it up to 11th place.

“It’s a bit frustrating because the performance was there this weekend with the upgrade. We had potentially yesterday both cars in Q3,” Pujolar added.

“But still this track is possible to overtake and things can happen during the race. So we were quite optimistic to have both cars fighting for the points. It didn’t end up as we expected.”

He admitted Alfa Romeo “struggled a bit too much” with tyre management, but “need to stay positive because we have got a good package now and both drivers are performing very well”.

Tilke’s latest circuit under construction

Flatrock Motorsports Park track plan
Flatrock Motorsports Park, a new circuit in US state Tennessee that has been designed by Tilke Engineers and Architects, began construction today.

The track will feature a 5.63-kilometre private Member’s Club layout and a 4.3km grand prix layout and is planned to be completed in the first half of 2023.

The venue also plans to open its own karting track early next year which would be capable of hosting international competitions. Flatrock will be built in phases, with the grand prix loop being added once the main layout is constructed, and other future developments will include an on-site hotel and amphitheatre.

Prema adds Beganovic to 2023 FIA F3 line-up

Newly-crowned Formula Regional Europe champion Dino Beganovic will step up to the FIA Formula 3 championship next year with Prema. He has raced exclusively for the Italian team since debuting in car racing in 2020, and is a race-winner in Formula 4 and the Formula Regional Asian Championship.

Beganovic, who has already driven the F3 car in post-season testing, is the team’s second signing for 2023. The Ferrari junior will be team mate to his FREC title rival Paul Aron, a Mercedes F1 junior.

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Comment of the day

Max Verstappen has matched the record for most wins in an F1 season, and has three more races in a record-length season to take the record outright. The fact that only five of his 13 wins this year have come from pole position has made his achievement even more impressive to some.

If you just compare Max’s starting positions in each of these races as compared to Vettel and Schumacher, it shows how incredible his 13 race record already his. They’ve had the second best car in qualifying this year, which was never the case for Schumacher or Vettel in 2004 and 2013 respectively. Max has been hit with grid penalties and still won races. Something Schumacher and Vettel didn’t deal with in that season.

Honestly, even if Max doesn’t cross the 13 mark (highly unlikely), I will still rate his season higher than Schumacher’s and Vettel’s seasons.
Todfod

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Crm, Gwen, Jeff Bird, Golson and Ostrailya!

On this day in motorsport

  • On this day in 2002 Mario Dominguez won a farcical CART IndyCar round in extremely wet conditions at Surfers’ Paradise, which was shortened to 40 laps and run almost entirely behind the Safety Car

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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12 comments on “Alfa Romeo pleased with US GP upgrade despite another points-free race”

  1. I disagree with COTD. This year is one of the first where Qualifying has felt pretty pointless. Yes, the Ferrari is quick over one lap, but it’s much worse on race pace. several races this year have shown that Mercedes are closer to Ferrari than Ferrari are to RedBull on race pace. Couple that with the ability to follow much closer and RedBulls incredible straight line speed and converting wins from anywhere inside the top 10 definitely don’t stand out as much as they used to.

    1. Yep, always felt this year would be a weird one due to the aero changes. The goal of cars following each other more closely while noble to increase the quality of the racing, also makes it easier for cars to get to the positions they’re supposed to be in. Which DRS was already helping with. Add in the regulation change in general with some teams getting it right and some teams getting it wrong, it was never going to be a year that showcases driver talent as the deciding factor.

  2. Bottas had a gust of wing on his head. Sauber and Haas desperately need decent drivers.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      27th October 2022, 8:12

      *wind

      However, It was his engineer that mentioned that, they were not Bottas’s words as he blamed himself. Also, this is the only the third time Bottas has retired from a race due to his own mistake in his 10 year career.

      Bottas has been underwhelming recently, but he was excellent at the start of the season which seems to be ignored by many. Overall, he’s had a decent season, and he is a decent driver, just seems a bit inconsistent. His pace last race seemed good at least, so we may see him having some reasonable performances soon. He got a huge amount of points at the start of the season and is still ahead of drivers like Ricciardo who has had a better car the vast majority of the season.

      Magnussen also I would say is at least decent. His start to the season was also very good, and his latest race and management of his strategy was excellent.

  3. I would rate Vettel’s 2013 higher. Vettel also had Mercedes as a faster qualifying car to contend with like Verstappen.

    But his dominance over his teammate and other competitors that year was absolute. Webber didn’t win a single race that year, Checo has won 2.

    1. Multi 21.

      1. And that was just one that got away they didn’t engineer him down the order, just put him on crap rubber and told him to turn down the wick.

  4. The fact that only five of his 13 wins this year have come from pole position has made his achievement even more impressive to some.

    Or maybe Max is simply not that good in quali, but that rocketship saves the day on Sundays.

    In the end, I’m sure everybody can explain the facts to suit their own preferred story.
    All happy, and guaranteed discussions in which arguments won’t shift positions ;)

  5. In relation to the COTD, undeniably Verstappen has been basically ten out of ten this year, but some (three?) of his 13 victories came after a Ferrari had a convincing lead but then broke down or crashed. I do not remember Schumacher or Vettel benefiting much from this type of thing.

    1. Also in Monaco and Singapore? Still the best out there by far but not 10/10

  6. COTD is right… only if you look staticly. There are always more to it than just numbers. Ferrari was fast in qualifying and they could use it in the races as well to put new tyres in every stint. Red Bull was quite a same in 2013. Max on the other hand had DRS and Ferrari bottling it up and so on.

    Leclerc has now as many poles as Seb did in 2013.. and can match Hamiltons tally of 12 in 2016.. Schumacher only had 11 poles as his record in 2001..

    Max has been a beast this season in races but Leclerc has to be there too in qualifying.

    Only Vettel, Rosberg, Hamilton, Verstappen, Schumacher, Hakkinen, Senna, Mansell, Prost and Villeneuve have had seasons with at least 10 poles. Leclerc should be up there too

  7. Then look at his pedestrian teammate.

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