Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023

Alfa Romeo admit they “struggled more than expected” in Jeddah race

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In the round-up: Alfa Romeo are unclear on the reasons for their disappointing performance in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

In brief

Alfa Romeo unclear on Jeddah struggles

Alfa Romeo’s head of trackside engineering Xevi Pujolar says the team do not why they lacked pace in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas finished eighth in the Bahrain Grand Prix but came in ten places lower at the next round. His team mate Zhou Guanyu also failed to score.

“In terms of performance in qualifying, we were same or even a step better than Bahrain,” said Pujolar. “On Friday we were struggling a bit, we were doing some tests, just trying to explore different areas on the car configuration to see if we could extract a bit more.

“We saw some improvements in some areas, but we lost too much in some others, and then we revert back on Saturday. We were close to Q3, and everyone was very, very tight.”

Based on their qualifying pace, and Bahrain result, Alfa Romeo thought they would spend the race fighting with at least one of the cars that reached Q3. They instead faced a trying night.

“In the race, I think we struggled a bit more with the grip more than what we expected,” Pujolar said. “Everyone is so close that as soon as you lose a bit of pace, you struggle to get back there fighting for the points.

“With Valtteri, at the moment we’re still investigating. Now that we have the car, we will check what happened for him. For sure something wasn’t working as expected. We could see with the level of sliding and how everything was going on with all the tyres, that’s why we said ‘okay, initially, maybe something with a specific compound’, but we tried different compounds and do the same with all of them. So in that car we need to find the problem.

“With Zhou, he was better, running close to what we would expect, but still not enough. And on that one, we just need to now analyse everything and see what we could do.The pace that we had was not as good as we had in qualifying. So we need to understand if it’s grip-limited, if it’s power-limited. We need to analyse, compare to the competitors and see what we can do. But at the moment I don’t think we need to be too worried.”

Ex-Schumacher 2000 Ferrari goes on sale

Ex-Michael Schumacher Ferrari F1-2000 for sale

The Ferrari F2000 that Michael Schumacher raced at the Brazilian, Spanish, Monaco and Austrian grands prix in the 2000 Formula 1 season is being auctioned by Sotheby’s next month.

Schumached claimed a race win and two poles in chassis 198, which was later sold by Ferrari to a collector in the United States. It was sold on again after that and was driven in Ferrari F1 Clienti events at Monza and Circuit of the Americas.

No price has been publicly listed for the car, although an estimate is available upon request from Sotheby’s.

F2 star Doohan to drive an Australian Supercar

Formula 2 racer Jack Doohan, son of Moto GP champion Mick, has revealed he has an exciting driving opportunity ahead of his home race in Australia next month. “I’m driving a V8 supercar around Calder Park or something as a Castrol event, which will be very cool,” he said.

The Alpine reserve driver flew from Saudi Arabia to Paris this week to conduct marketing duties for the team, then this Saturday he will head down under on Saturday morning to acclimatise with the time zone difference before more promotional duties next week.

F1 Exhibition reveals global first

An F1-spec Ferrari hybrid power unit will be displayed publicly for the first time in the upcoming official F1 Exhibition in Madrid.

The last time a Ferrari F1 engine was displayed was in 2013, and F1 switched to hybrid powertrains a year later. The example that will feature at the exhibition comes from Ferrari’s 2021 car.

The 065/6 power unit, which features a turbocharged 1.6-litre V6 engine, two electrical motorsport and an energy store pack, can be found in the exhibition’s ‘Revolution by Design’ room.

Ferrari’s road car division suffer cyber attack

Ferrari have revealed a cyber incident has occurred on the automotive side of their business in which an attacker accessed their clients’ data. The attacker had “a ransom demand related to certain client contact details,” said the company in a statement.

The brand’s CEO Benedetto Vigna said “based on our investigation, no payment details and/or bank account numbers and/or other sensitive payment information, nor details of Ferrari cars owned or ordered have been stolen.”

There has been no indication the brand’s racing teams were affected by the attack.

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Comment of the day

F1 wanted the racing to be closer with the new era of technical regulations that were introduced last year, and while there may be battles further down the order this is a big gap between Red Bull at the front and the chasing pack. DRS has now been present in F1 and has been accused of making overtaking too easy as well as ‘DRS trains’ where a group of cars are able to run closely but unable to pass each other.

Technical handicapping (such as the existing aerodynamic development restrictions) could make the gaps between teams smaller, and potentially increase overtaking as well as the chance of other teams making it to the top, but could DRS also be used as a control tool if charges like Max Verstappen’s from 15th to second place at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix are too easy?

I think DRS is still too powerful but not in favour of handicapping. I would be in favour of DRS to be used selectively when in range but opening the wing on a lap makes it unavailable on the next lap. This would break DRS trains and make defending more worthwhile.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Hamilton Wc 09, Juan Pablo Heidfeld, Shaneb457, Chris and Mike Shefford!

On this day in motorsport

Fernando Alonso claimed his first F1 pole position today in 2003
  • 20 years ago today Fernando Alonso scored the first pole position of his F1 career in Malaysia, becoming the sport’s youngest pole-winner at the time

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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2 comments on “Alfa Romeo admit they “struggled more than expected” in Jeddah race”

  1. The Gilles article is really worth a read.

  2. Coincidently I’ve also played iRacing on a laptop with a console controller.

    Not too powerful necessarily, or certainly not at most circuits, but more relevantly, I’m against any handicapping, including selective usage when in range.
    The DRS trains aren’t overly bad, so I don’t mind them.
    At least something can always happen in these scenarios versus if everyone drives with more than a second gap between each other.
    The only actions concerning DRS use I see as worthwhile for now are experiments in Baku, Spa, & Interlagos Sprints without activatability on S/F, Kemmel, & S/F straight, respectively.

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