Alfa Romeo identify “massive debris” which ruined Bottas’ race

2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Alfa Romeo has confirmed Valtteri Bottas suffered a significant performance loss during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after striking debris soon after the start.

Bottas reported handling problems throughout Sunday’s race, made an extra pit stop for soft tyres near the end and was the last runner to finish, a lap behind.

At the end of the race Bottas told his team he “ran over some massive debris” at the start. “I felt that in my ass,” he added.

After the race he told reporters “there was something wrong,” with his car. “I suspect I ran over some debris on lap one.

“Since the beginning of the race, I just had no grip. So perhaps some damage in the diffuser or something.”

An Alfa Romeo spokesperson told RaceFans the team had confirmed Bottas’ suspicions were correct. The damage is believed to have seriously compromised the performance of his car.

Bottas wasn’t the only driver to be compromised by damage due to debris at the start of the race. Lando Norris also ran over a piece of bodywork, which had fallen off the other McLaren of Oscar Piastri, and had to pit for repairs.

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Selected Bottas team radio messages

Bottas’ race engineer Alex Chan called him in for a pit stop in the race but cancelled the call for him to come in at the last moment:

Lap: 6/50
ChanOkay Valtteri, if we don’t make progress, we could consider going to hard. Piastri is just behind our ghost. Very quick on hard in free air.
ChanRepeat, repeat. We have to go this lap.
BottasI think box.
ChanBox this lap.
ChanCorrection, stay out, stay out, stay out.
Lap: 7/50
ChanOkay Valtteri we’re back to Plan A.

Bottas reported handling problems throughout the race which led him to make a second pit stop after the Safety Car period:

Lap: 33/50
ChanCompared to the cars ahead in cornering, we lose time on 16 exit and 23 exit. Try taking it easier on entries there.
Lap: 34/50
ChanSuggest B-mid four for 16 and 22.
Lap: 35/50
ChanOkay. There’ll be 15 laps to go next time around. We can consider the soft now.
ChanAre you happy to go for the soft now, question?
BottasShould we wait? I don’t know if anything happens.
ChanWe can go now Valtteri. If there is a Safety Car later, we can stop again. Let’s go.
BottasOkay, box.
ChanBox, box, front wing for softs, question.
BottasKeep the same, the rear is weak.

After taking the chequered flag in last place, Bottas said he was sure the car had taken damage early on:

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Lap: 42/50
BottasIs there any damage to the car?
Lap: 43/50
ChanSo far, no feedback. Stand by.
BottasThere’s something, it’s not right.
BottasIt’s sliding everywhere
ChanIs it getting worse, question?
BottasNo [unclear].
Lap: 44/50
ChanSix laps to go, from the data we can’t see anything obvious
Lap: 50/50
ChanOkay Valtteri that will be the chequered flag. You can go to mode end. I’m sorry about today. I know that was a very painful one but we’ll [unclear] go through the data and we’ll learn something today.
BottasYeah copy. Something was wrong, for sure the whole weekend, but today especially. On lap one I ran over some massive debris, which I felt that in my ass, so there could be something there.
ChanOkay, copy. We’ll do a good check of the floor tonight.

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2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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  • 5 comments on “Alfa Romeo identify “massive debris” which ruined Bottas’ race”

    1. Did they find it inside the fire-proof suit and helmet? Did it talk back? And what version of massive debris was it?

    2. Unsurprising & pretty clear-cut quite early on that he’d picked up debris from Piastri’s car.

    3. Was it Nyck?

    4. I hate “Massive Debris”, I encounter it often in my day to day routine.

      The Boss says, “Why didn’t you finish that job?”
      I reply, “Massive Debris!”

      Customers ask, “Why wasn’t my parcel delivered on time?”
      I reply, “Massive Debris!”

      The Wife says, “What is that smell in the toilet?”
      I reply, “Massive Debris!”

      Fortunately, no one ever thinks to ask precisely what the debris was or where it came from!

    5. Odd that they could be more specific in what it did to the car. Did it get stuck in the floor and disturb the air? Did it break off pieces of the floor?

    Comments are closed.