Having departed from Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas enjoyed plenty of positive F1 news coverage after outqualifying George Russell in Bahrain last year – a shock result for Alfa Romeo. Unfortunately for the Finn, Alfa’s competitiveness has been in steady decline since.
After securing consistent points finishes when this regulatory era started, Alfa Romeo finds itself P9 in the standings.
Worse still, the Swiss outfit has fallen behind the likes of Aston Martin and McLaren – two teams who have rapidly outdeveloped them in the last eighteen months.
A sensational qualifying for Zhou and Bottas in Hungary, whilst encouraging, is the perhaps only session of 2023 where the C43 has shown serious performance.
Even then, Alfa failed to convert this strong Saturday result into points. Looking ahead to the final ten rounds, Valtteri Bottas is aware that improvements are necessary:
“I have enjoyed racing in Zandvoort over the past few years, having also been on the podium here in 2021. The organisers have done a brilliant job, and the fans put up a great show; it’s like racing at a big festival.
“The team put in a lot of work before the break, having analysed our performances from our most recent races.
“Although we didn’t score points, we showed some promising signs when it comes to pace, and I am confident we can put up a good fight to get back into the top ten.
“As always, it will be important to start well from the very first sessions: the battle is close, and there’s no margin for error.”
Audi will provide significant investment upon their arrival in 2026, but until then, Sauber must show a greater capacity for development.
After all, the German manufacturer is unlikely to become a silver bullet for the next regulation set – given their F1 inexperience.
This means that Sauber’s personnel in Hinwill must prove themselves capable of competing with the increasingly ambitious teams across the grid.
Some steps have been taken to increase the team’s autonomy. For example, the team now produces its own gearboxes rather than purchasing them from Ferrari.
In any case, considering the results of 2023 so far, the upgrades due to arrive on the C43 must prove effective.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang