Alfa Romeo debating ‘sensible’ decision to run this year’s chassis in 2023

Michelle Foster
Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas on track at the Dutch Grand Prix. Zandvoort, September 2022.

Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas on track at the Dutch Grand Prix. Zandvoort, September 2022.

Alfa Romeo are considering using this year’s chassis next season, after all they are down at F1’s minimal weight and it would save a few bob.

Alfa Romeo arrived in Spain for pre-season testing as the only team whose car was at the 798kg minimal weight, everyone else said to be overweight by double digits.

As their rivals set about shaving grams off their cars, Alfa Romeo set about scoring points with Valtteri Bottas securing seven top-ten finishes in the first nine races. His team-mate Zhou Guanyu scored twice in that same period.

But as their rivals lost weight and upped their performances, Alfa Romeo went backwards.

Bottas has not scored a point in the last nine races with Zhou only adding one to the team’s tally, Alfa Romeo falling to sixth in the Constructors’ Championship.

Just seven points ahead of Aston Martin with four races remaining, Alfa Romeo reportedly have one big update still to come – a new floor at the United States Grand Prix.

After that it will be all eyes on 2023 with the team debating if they’ll be introducing a new chassis or stick with this season’s design.

According to Auto Motor und Sport, the team is ‘faced with the question of whether it would not be better to completely avoid the construction of a new chassis. And the money is better invested in other areas of vehicle development.

‘The engineers have to decide where is the most sensible place to invest the money? What gets the most lap time?

‘How much leeway do they left with the current architecture, for example to be able to play with the arrangement of the coolers, should they come across something there during development.’

Valtteri Bottas' Alfa Romeo being pushed into the garage at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Hungaroring July 2022.

It is a decision, the German publication claims, has most likely already been made but it’s not one Alfa Romeo have yet to reveal.

‘Load-bearing components such as the monocoque have a long lead time,’ reads the report, ‘they are sanctioned around October for the next season. No team will miss it.’

Building for next season, Alfa Romeo introduced a big upgrade at the Japanese Grand Prix, featuring a front wing and nose. The latter had to go through FIA testing as it is shorter than its predecessor.

The upgrade was billed as a ‘preview of the 2023 car’ by AMuS.

Although both drivers made it through to Q2 in qualifying, neither scored on the Sunday in what was a rain-interrupted grand prix.

Next season will be Alfa Romeo’s last as the title sponsor of the Sauber team, the Italian company announcing earlier this year that it would not be renewing the deal.

In a statement the company said: “Alfa Romeo communicates that its partnership with Sauber Motorsport will end within the end of 2023.

“Alfa Romeo announced its return in F1 in 2017 with a long term plan, and in July 2022 has announced the decision to continue its partnership with Sauber also for 2023, given to the promising results of the first half of the season, both in terms of performances, marketing and positive collaboration with the team.

“Since the economic and industrial turnaround of the brand will be achieved in 2022, Alfa Romeo will now evaluate among the many opportunities on the table, and decide which will be the best one to sustain the long term strategy and the positioning of the Brand.”

Sauber are expected to team up with Audi when the German engine supplier enters Formula 1 in 2026.

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