Bottas: “Rapid improvement needed” at Alfa Romeo

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In the round-up: Valtteri Bottas admits he is concerned about Alfa Romeo’s competitiveness.

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In brief

Alfa Romeo concerned about lack of pace

Alfa Romeo were a points-scoring threat through the first three grands prix of 2023, but were far off the pace in Baku last weekend. Their cars came 12th and 16th in the sprint race, while the grand prix proved even more challenging. Valtteri Bottas finished a lapped 18th while team mate Zhou Guanyu’s car was retired over engine reliability concerns.

Ahead of the Miami GP, Bottas said Alfa Romeo “need to make a rapid improvement in terms of performance.” Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Alfa Romeo’s team representative, admitted “there is no denying we are not where we expected to be at the start of the season.

“Right now, performance-wise, fighting for the top ten is tough,” he said. “Nevertheless, we must remain calm and not lose our focus on what we need to do: the season is still long, and we have the opportunity to turn the tide.”

Magnussen looking forward to challenge of Miami, his ‘home race’

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen considers this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix to be the nearest thing he has to a home race in Formula 1. The Dane drove for F1’s sole American team Haas from 2017 to 2020, then rejoined their race driver line-up last year.

“It’s the closest I get to a home race in a way because there isn’t a Danish Grand Prix and the closest I get is the team’s home race and I count that as ours,” he said. “Luckily we have three of those and hopefully we can do well at all three.”

Plans for a race in the Danish capital Copenhagen were presented in 2017 but never realised.

Magnussen said the inaugural race last year “was very hot and humid and also it’s a physical track. It’s not the most physical track in terms of the layout, but it is tough and with the weather on top it was so hard. I think it’s a tricky place to put a F1 track and they’ve managed to make something that’s fun.”

The track degraded in parts during last year’s race but has been extensively resurfaced for 2023. “The timing is very unique and last year it was being repaired over the weekend so it changed a lot during the weekend,” said Magnussen. “There were some big adaptations you had to make to your driving style for those repairs.

“Sector one is fun, it’s the fast part of the track – with the esses and tricky braking in turns seven and eight before the straight – but the most challenging part is the slower section under the bridge before the last long straight.”

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New drivers for F1 23’s ‘MyTeam’ mode

An eclectic mix of four drivers have been added to the ‘My Team’ mode for F1 23: 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell, 2012 Spanish Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado, Japan’s most recent podium visitor Kamui Kobayashi and multiple W Series champion Jamie Chadwick.

Hass to design hospital gowns

The Haas F1 team and the Starlight Children’s Foundation have announced they will be creating custom-designed Starlight hospital gowns.

Team founder Gene Haas’s foundation is helping to fund the project, which will provide 1,000 gowns for children’s hospitals in the United States. The design of the gowns will feature Haas’s 2023 F1 car on the front, with the team wanting to make the experience of wearing hospital gowns a little more enjoyable for hospitalised children.

“If we can make children smile and distract them – even for a moment – away from their time in hospital, we’ve done our job,” said team principal Guenther Steiner.

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Comment of the day

Aston Martin had to get the permission of the FIA to make a change to a rear wing part once their cars were in parc ferme at last weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but on normal race weekends they would have made that change without issue between practice sessions. If F1 keeps the sprint event format it first trialled in Baku, could it lead to safety issues?

Goes to highlight the negatives of having virtually no practice and putting cars into parc-ferme on Fridays over the sprint weekend. Gives teams no time to test upgrades.

These aren’t junior formula spec cars that never change through a season. They are bespoke, ever evolving complex prototypes and without testing now everything is been done at race weekends so further reducing that running is going to result in these problems.

And while in this instance it was just a performance loss and annoyance there is the potential for it to become a safety issue should a new part fail and cause a big accident.

I also question the lack of practice on a sprint weekend in terms of tyres as lets not forget that Pirelli usually use the practice running to figure out the recommendations for pressures, cambers and stint life. Having a race come down to tyre failures due to the recommended things been wrong due to a lack of data from the lack of running isn’t good for anyone and would make both the sport and the Liberty show look like a joke.

But then given how NASCAR lives and breathes on accidents and how the American audience Liberty are going after seem to thrive on ‘the big one’ maybe this is what Liberty want to see happen.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Jack Sargeant, Martin Stanley, Three4Three, Skodarap, Vickyy and F1_Barbie!

On this day in motorsport

  • 20 years ago today Michael Schumacher kept home hero Fernando Alonso at bay to win the Spanish Grand Prix

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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8 comments on “Bottas: “Rapid improvement needed” at Alfa Romeo”

  1. I thought only Ocon was watching Nascar testing & trying tyre changing, but ultimately both under sponsor-organized circumstances. I like his event-specific helmet design, though.

    I don’t feel the slightly altered sprint format with the redundant Saturday practice session under parc ferme restrictions getting replaced by another qualifying could become a safety issue eventually.
    I just don’t find anything to be worried about.
    Yes, limited practice running, but as many have pointed out, F1 teams generally have more practice than necessary, so one is enough. Zero would be another matter, but one at the minimum suffices.

    1. Agree on both the helmet and on the take on the sprint weekend format there @jerejj.

      Safety really is not what we should be worried about, teams will manage. They managed now, and next time they will know even better how to prepare. The only issue is whether the current format is fun and whether the cars are good for racing. But that is a wholly different question.

      1. Another worry is the places where F1 goes racing (Baku, Qatar, S.A., Bahrain, …), now including an extremely hostile to LGBTQ+ people environment in Florida, but that is a completely different issue altogether.

  2. Red flags, totally new F1 World and now Maldonado. Can we finally create our own 2012 Spanish GP and burn the whole Williams garage down?

  3. Yes @bascb. The Governor of Florida is slowly introducing laws that one might expect to see in places like Middle Eastern oligarchies, not to mention banning books. Yet no one says a word…yet. A very good reason to add Florida to the list of undesirable locations.

    1. This was supposed to be a reply to the comment above!

    2. Yeah, very worrying where the GOP and specifically the Florida version with De Santis has taken a part of a free country and so fast.

    3. Undesirable for some makes it desirable for others. It’s a free world mate. Majority rules, that’s how democracy works, or demo(n)cracy if you prefer it that way.

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