Zhou Guanyu is hopeful that Alfa Romeo will have plenty more firepower behind them in 2023, with their Constructors’ finish adding plenty more to the coffers for next year’s car.
Alfa were Formula 1’s most-improved team in terms of Constructors’ Championship placing from 2021 to 2022, rising three places up to sixth in the standings – with a significant financial reward coming to them for doing so in prize money.
The Hinwil-based squad are traditionally one of the sport’s lesser-resourced teams over the course of the year, and had not been operating at the budget cap level this season.
Zhou, coming off the back of his rookie year, thinks such a result will give the team the backing they need to be able to fight harder for longer over the course of 2023.
“Today we had to give absolutely everything until the last lap,” Zhou admitted to media including PlanetF1 after the race in Abu Dhabi.
“I was giving it all, 100% every lap out there. I think I achieved what we should achieve at the end of the day, so big thanks to all the guys who worked this year and I feel like it’s a good finish that gives us a lot of opportunity for next year, in terms of being quicker on the development paths and have more budget overall.”
Zhou and team-mate Valtteri Bottas started the season strongly in a car which was an upper midfield runner at the beginning of the year, but the team struggled to maintain their competitiveness with others being able to out-develop them with more resources at their disposal.
They just about kept hold of sixth in the championship after finishing level on points with Aston Martin, but Bottas’ fifth place finish at Imola ensured they won the position by having the highest individual placing of one of their drivers over the course of the year.
Given the experience he now has under his belt and the additional prize money now coming to Alfa Romeo, Zhou feels ready to be more competitive from the start when March comes around again.
“Here, you know, while we’re fighting with the bigger teams, with the lower cost cap and not actually [be able to] get up to the deadline of the cost cap, with some teams who are even over it,” he explained.
“And so for us, [it] was always going to be tricky the second half [of the season], but glad the car was able to perform reasonably well after a tricky last year or so.
“For us, a very good window for the coming season, so a lot of stuff to work on, and sure that we will start the season – at least from my side – a lot higher than this year.”