Is Alfa Romeo finally on top? Although the Swiss racing team could not score any points in Miami, Valtteri Bottas’ tenth place finish on Saturday gave the team an encouraging first quarter of the year. He says: “I think we’ve seen a little light at the end of the tunnel.”
Alfa Romeo has had a difficult season so far. It was still a successful start for the Finn with an eighth in Bahrain, but there were no further points in the rest of the season – apart from Guanyu Zhou’s lucky ninth in a turbulent race in Melbourne.
However, Miami seemed to be something of a step in the right direction again: “We got a good set-up and a good rhythm and it shows that you can get better results if you get everything right,” said Bottas. “And we want to maintain this momentum.”
Alfa Romeo hadn’t even made any major changes to their car for Miami, they just knocked out the right window. In Monaco, the racing team now has a small improvement on board that was supposed to come to Imola. “We will try here and hopefully that will give us more power,” says Bottas.
However, teammate Zhou doesn’t believe the Monte Carlo upgrade will make much of a difference: “I don’t think you’ll see much,” the Chinese say. “On this track you need a special setup compared to other tracks. Of course it’s good to have a few aerodynamic improvements.”
Monaco: Fortunately, air resistance is not an issue
And: In Monaco, the big weakness of Alfa Romeo should not have as big an impact as usual. Because the C43 has a lot of air resistance, which has been a big problem so far this season. “It’s a big issue that we’re focusing on. It’s not that easy to solve,” says Zhou. “You have to change a lot to find a solution.”
As a result, Bottas and Zhou are losing top speed in the series, “and that’s not good because it’s lap time that we’re losing,” says Zhou. “And in a midfield battle, two tenths can make the difference between eighth and 15th.”
But: “I’m looking forward to the weekend because our biggest weakness doesn’t come into this arrangement.”
Heat as a key
But of course there are other problems that you have to manage to get good results in urban canyons. It depends a lot on the speed of Saturday, because there shouldn’t be much movement on Sunday.
So far, this has been average in Alfa Romeo, but it is definitely there, as tenth place in Miami shows the qualification. Much should also depend on the weather: “We have a few problems with the cold temperature and we find it difficult to get the tires in the first heat,” says Zhou.
In Monaco it should be more than 20 degrees this weekend, and the first round could be decisive here in qualifying: Last year Zhou retired in the 20th and last place because he could not place the second time because of the red flag.
It should go well this time. “We are working as hard as we can to be where we want to be,” says Bottas. “That hasn’t been the case so far this year.”
And pictures from Sports car pictures.