Alfa Romeo ‘determined to turn the tide’ as gruelling schedule looms

Jon Wilde
Valtteri Bottas pushed back into the garage. Australia April 2022

Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas pushed back into the garage. Australia April 2022

Alfa Romeo hope the busy second part of the season will bring a change of fortune after a miserable July.

What had been shaping up to be an excellent campaign for the Swiss-based squad left them with pangs of regret during the summer break over failing to score any points in the four July races.

A total of 51 points for sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship is still probably above what Alfa Romeo had dared to hope for, even with the new regulations designed to shake up the order.

And yet reliability issues for Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, which took the team’s number of retirements for the year to eight, and of course the Chinese driver’s terrifying Silverstone crash brought clouds to the team’s previously sunny skies.

“The summer break was a much-needed pause after a busy first part of the season and now we are back on track refreshed and motivated, ready to take on the triple-header and the remainder of the season,” said team principal Fred Vasseur of their preparations for the Belgian, Dutch and Italian Grands Prix.

“Nine races in 13 weeks will be a challenge for everyone in the team but we are keen to finish the job we started.

“Our July was tough, but our spirits are high and our approach remains the same – we are determined to turn the tide and place ourselves back where we belong, putting up a good challenge in the midfield and scoring important championship points.

“We will give it our very best and I’m confident we can do it this weekend already.”

Valtteri Bottas looks at his stricken Alfa Romeo. Bahrain March 2022.
Valtteri Bottas looks at his stricken Alfa Romeo C42 after stopping in the Bahrain test. March 2022.

What should Alfa Romeo be capable of achieving?

On a good day, when everything works as it should, Bottas in particular would be hopeful of challenging Alpine and McLaren, who are competing for the P4 in the Constructors’ Championship.

The Finn was doing just that in the opening third of the season, when he finished outside the points only once up to and including the Monaco Grand Prix – and that was when his C42 broke down in Saudi Arabia.

But reliability has been the team’s big weakness with all-too-regular car failures, while start-line launch glitches and the occasional fumbled pit-stop have also contributed towards the frustration.

Bottas pointed out in the team’s Belgian GP preview that he has finished on the podium three times at Spa – one of them for Williams – and while in normal circumstances that feat would be too much of a stretch this time, the circuit’s micro-climate offers hope of the unexpected occurring.

“Races in Belgium are often unpredictable and I think everything will hinge on doing our job right and taking any opportunity the conditions or circumstances will offer,” said the driver who will celebrate his 33rd birthday on race day.

“We will have the chance to put ourselves in the mix and bring home some points, which would be a great way to kick off the triple-header on a good note.”