F1 2023 – Alfa Romeo’s Attempts to Reverse a Significant Setback
Alfa Romeo aims to recapture what it views as a key advantage in the 2023 Formula 1 season, having made enhancing its reliability a top priority during the winter hiatus.
The Alfa Romeo team, operated by Sauber, started the new era of Formula 1 near the forefront of the midfield, with its new acquisition Valtteri Bottas earning several points finishes in the initial races, despite facing numerous reliability problems, which resulted in him completing three or fewer laps in five out of the first 17 practice sessions of 2022.
Bottas’s rookie teammate Zhou Guanyu had three retirements in his first eight races, causing Alfa Romeo to miss out on valuable points just as it was falling in the Formula 1 standings as other teams, who were heavier than Alfa, made weight-saving improvements that Alfa had already achieved prior to the season.
Despite earning only four points in the latter half of the year, the team barely managed to hold onto its sixth position in the constructors’ championship. This outcome may have masked the threat posed by Alfa Romeo’s unreliable performance record.
Sauber Unveils 2023 F1 car for its Last Campaign with Alfa Romeo
In 2022, Alfa Romeo finished fewer laps in races compared to any other team, as both Bottas and Zhou experienced four reliability-related retirements each. This was a stark difference from the previous year, where Alfa had an exceptional reliability record, with the only retirement caused by reliability issues occurring in the season-ending Abu Dhabi race and leaving Alfa as the third team with the most completed miles among the 10 teams.
At the unveiling of Alfa Romeo’s 2023 Formula 1 car, the technical director Jan Monchaux referred to reliability as a major concern and acknowledged the ample opportunity for improvement.
“Last season’s [reliability] performance was not as strong as the one before, so we have a lot of work to do in that area,” Monchaux stated.
“As the [previous] season progressed, it became apparent that our primary concern was reliability issues,” Monchaux stated.
“Therefore, we have made numerous modifications to the car and internal processes in order to tackle this issue, as historically, we have been highly reliable,” Monchaux explained.
“Nonetheless, last season saw us deteriorate in what used to be one of our greatest strengths. So it was undoubtedly one of our main areas of focus during the winter break,” Monchaux stated.
Alfa Romeo’s reliability issues in 2022 started with a disastrous shakedown, during which the car’s floor was damaged due to the effects of porpoising, a problem the team spent half of the previous year’s Barcelona test trying to resolve.
The squad is determined to prevent a similar occurrence this year when they conduct the shakedown of their C43 later in the week.
“I hope not,” Monchaux responded when asked about the possibility of porpoising recurring this year.
“As we only have three days of winter testing, it would be a disaster if we found ourselves in a similar predicament to last year,” Monchaux explained.
“If we end up spending most of our time fixing the car like we did last year during the first test in Barcelona, then our start to the season could be greatly jeopardized,” Monchaux warned.
“I am optimistic that the new regulations and the advancements we made in creating a new floor will prevent the return of porpoising. The first winter test only lasts three days and if we face the same situation as last year, where we spent half of the time fixing the car, it will significantly impact our preparations for the start of the season.”
Photos – Alfa Romeo F1 car 2023
Monchaux considers shakedowns to be of utmost importance due to the limited track time available, with the three-day test in Bahrain prior to the season-opening being the only other opportunity for the C43 to be on the track.
“It will have to be a rapid acceleration,” Monchaux stated.
“The shakedown is essential,” stated Monchaux. “The car is designed using computer simulations and wind tunnel testing, but the shakedown is the first chance to see if everything is functioning as planned – the cooling systems, hydraulic pipes, and electronics. It’s critical to have a successful shakedown in order to have confidence in the car and ensure that we can maximize the mileage during pre-season testing. The more we run the car, the more we can ensure its reliability.”
Alfa Romeo’s Attempts Alfa Romeo’s Attempts Alfa Romeo’s Attempts
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