Alfa Romeo’s worrying 2022 slump of no concern ahead of F1 2023

Jamie Woodhouse
The Alfa Romeo C43.

The Alfa Romeo C43.

Alfa Romeo suffered a decline as the 2022 campaign went on, but that trend does not worry them at all ahead of the new season.

As the majority of teams began that season with overweight challengers at the start of a new regulatory era, Alfa Romeo benefitted from not being one of those teams as they jumped to the head of the midfield.

But as podium talk emerged after Valtteri Bottas finished P5 at Imola, even the points finishes would later dry up, Alfa Romeo scoring just four from the final 13 races.

However, Alfa Romeo’s head of trackside engineering Xevi Pulojar pointed to their pace gains in the final rounds following a pair of upgrades as reason not be concerned ahead of the 2023 campaign.

Asked by media, including PlanetF1.com after the 2022 season whether Alfa Romeo’s dip in form was a concern for the year ahead, Pulojar replied: “At the moment, worried? No, because I think we look at the performance that we had in the last part, in the last few races, and the performance was good.

“We were fighting near the top of the midfield. We have some areas that we will need to improve on, we are aware of these areas, and now we have got time to do that. So we’re not concerned on that one.”

Alfa Romeo just about managed to secure P6 in the Constructors’ Championship, that P5 for Bottas keeping them ahead of Aston Martin after the two teams finished level on points.

That of course brought the team a financial boost, which Pulojar expects to be important for them in F1 2023, which he believes will feature a tighter grid.

“I think it’s important for us because next year [2023] will be even more competitive than this year,” said Pulojar.

“And now I think not only on that side, but we have seen we still have got many weak points that now we have time to work on and prepare.

“We had some advantage at the beginning of the season, probably next year will be more difficult from the beginning, everybody will be very close together.

“And now we just need to get ready, it will be another good fight from the beginning next year. And all that being P6, it will be a good help to get ready for that new challenge as a team.”

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Alfa Romeo look to exit Formula 1 on a high

F1 2023 is the end of an era when it comes to Alfa Romeo as the team prepare to split with Sauber, who will become the Audi works team as of 2026, running an Audi power unit.

Whether the Alfa Romeo name will continue in Formula 1 elsewhere, has not yet been confirmed.

It will be curtains though for the Alfa Romeo-Sauber connection, and so the team will hope to see the C43 inspire them to their best campaign yet.

Valtteri Bottas mentally appears to be in the best place yet during his Formula 1 career, and proved last season what he can do in a competitive Alfa Romeo, while Zhou Guanyu heads into his second season off the back of a rookie campaign where he showed impressive improvement throughout.

So, while Alpine, McLaren, Aston Martin and AlphaTauri are all stating their ambitions to lead the midfield, do not rule Alfa Romeo out of that conversation.