Guide to F1 2022 – Alfa Romeo tries to leave the extra role

Guide to F1 2022 – Alfa Romeo tries to leave the extra role


Valtteri Bottas and C42 through the Sakhir circuit

Photo: Alfa Romeo / Twitter

Official name: Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN
Car: C42
Engine: Ferrari 066/7
Drivers: #77 Valtteri Bottas and #24 Guanyu Zhou
Ranking in 2021: 9th out of 10

The team
Alfa Romeo is one of the most traditional names in motorsport. But the glory days are long ago, in the first half of the 20th century, even before the creation of Formula 1 as we know it. Still on the cusp of success, the team took part in the first two seasons in F1 history, in 1950 and 1951, and were champion drivers in both, such as Giuseppe Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio. But already in 1952 he had to leave for financial reasons.

The first restoration took place in 1979. The best result among constructors in this second era was 6th place in 1983. In 1985, the team left the division after a bad season. The second iteration took place in 2019, when Sauber’s sponsorship was extended to a partnership and the Swiss team began racing under the Italian brand name. The design, however, remains that of the team founded by Peter Sauber.

It has been three seasons since then, and the results are not the most encouraging. In 2019 and 2020, the team ranked 8th among constructors, but saw their score drop significantly from one year to the next, from 57 points to 8. In 2021, the score even improved slightly (13), but the final position was bad more: 9th. And at the end of the day, that’s what matters, because it’s the position among the builders that determines the team’s prize money.

For 2022, Alfa Romeo brings news. Fredric Vasseur remains the Crew Chief, but the driver pairing, which has been the same since 2019, is changing completely. Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 Finnish champion and the most-raced driver in F1 history, has decided to retire. Antonio Giovinazzi, an Italian, was released from the team and moved to Formula E.

The dismissal of Giovinazzi, by the way, is a sign of another move by Alfa: the team is slowly pulling away from Ferrari, which is close to Haas (read here). Sauber is a long-term partner of the red team, receiving engines and young drivers from Maranello’s development program. Giovinazzi was one of them. Having the lowest relationship between the teams, Ferrari did not make much effort to keep him in the car. And that gave Alfa a chance to find a driver who could contribute to the team’s finances.

In place of Raikkonen and Giovinazzi, unfortunately, an experienced Finn and a young driver arrive, without previous experience as a starter in another team.

Guanyu Zhou and Valtteri Bottas form the Alfa Romeo duo for 2022

Guanyu Zhou and Valtteri Bottas form the Alfa Romeo duo for 2022

Photo: F1 / Advertising

two of the experimenters
#77 Valtteri Bottas: at the age of 32, the Finn arrives at a team that could be the last of his career in Formula 1. There have been nine full seasons in the category so far, the last five of which have been with the big Mercedes, where he won. All 10 wins and 20 pole positions. Bottas ended up being overshadowed by Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, but the numbers don’t lie: he’s a fast driver, and he managed to upset his former team-mate in qualifying time and time again.

Your experience will be valuable in helping to create a new vehicle. It is believed that he has the team’s best result for the whole year, considering the light load of his new teammate, who arrives in F1 without much credit. For Bottas, a great chance to mark the spot and show the world that he can still be more than a second driver.

#24 Guanyu Zhou: he will be the first Chinese winner of the Formula 1 team. The 22-year-old driver does not have an impressive profile at the center, with the only title of F3 Asia for 2021 – the basis to get the best license and, therefore. , to be able to run in F1. In F2, there were three seasons, with the best finish being 3rd among drivers last year.

Zhou comes from the Renault/Alpine youth driver program, which he left to sign with Alfa Romeo. Interestingly, last year’s F2 was essentially won by another Renault driver: Oscar Piastri. But unlike Piastri, Zhou was able to offer a more attractive package to a top-level team.

Guanyu Zhou tests the C42 in Bahrain

Guanyu Zhou tests the C42 in Bahrain

Photo: Alfa Romeo / Twitter

2022 car
Alfa Romeo was the last team to officially reveal its car for 2022, even participating in the first joint tests and advertising to hide the details. Slutgiltig shapes and colors C42 they were only shown between the tests in Barcelona and Bahrain. And the painting brings new things in relation to the plan used between 2018 and 2021. Now, the car is more wine (or burgundy), leaving only the central part with a few white details. Looks, very tasty.

As for the car itself, the upper air intake is divided into two parts, recalling the idea adopted by Mercedes in the 2010 W01, as well as various openings for an upward air channel, which extends over most of the side panels. . The engine and battery package continues to be offered by Ferrari.

A good point of the car seems to be the weight it contains. Alfa Romeo was the only team to beat the minimum weight of 795 kg set for 2022. The other teams could not reach this weight, pressuring the FIA ​​to increase the minimum and thus the advantage that could cause Alfa to be removed. We talk about it here and here.

C42 vent details

C42 vent details

Photo: Alfa Romeo / Twitter

before the season
Still using camouflage, Alfa Romeo faced several setbacks at the Barcelona test. The team did not clarify what kind of problem the car presented, but the fact is that the accumulated mileage was less than the top teams. By comparison, last year’s top four teams each completed more than twice as many Alfa laps. Only Haas traveled less on Spanish soil.

Things started to improve in Bahrain. The team managed to have more time to monitor and were able to simulate long periods on two out of three days. At the end of three days of action in the Qatari desert, Alfa Romeo was the fourth team with the highest mileage. That’s not to say everything was perfect, though. There was still a lot of time lost in the garage and doubts about reliability continue to hang over the team.

Another important thing noted in the Barcelona tests was skidding, the tendency of the new cars to “bounce” at high speeds. The C42 was one of the vehicles most affected by the impact. In Bahrain, the team made adjustments to the ride height and floor and appeared to have reduced the incidence of the problem.

Veteran Robert Kubica, Alfa's reserve driver, came to ride with a hidden version in Barcelona

Veteran Robert Kubica, Alfa’s reserve driver, came to ride with a hidden version in Barcelona

Photo: Alfa Romeo / Twitter

Prospects for 2022
Since returning to F1, Alfa Romeo has not been able to get past 8th place among constructors. The major rule change of 2022 was designed as a great opportunity for a quality rise that could make the team a frequent visitor to the scoring area, constantly fighting in midfield.

But the problems that plagued the team in pre-season testing could be an indication that, initially, Alfa will have to spend more time in the development of the car to find reliability before trying more competitive performance. At least at the beginning of the season, the team is expected to appear behind the grid, unlike in previous years.

In the world of cars, Alfa Romeo has a reputation for making the most beautiful and exciting cars in the world, but they insist on letting their owners down. Without going into the merits of this popularity being right or not, the fear of the team is that this principle will also be valid in Formula 1 in 2022. And maybe there is reason for concern, after all, the car is already good …

Bottas leaves the garage with the C42.  Reliability can be an issue

Bottas leaves the garage with the C42. Reliability can be an issue

Photo: FIA / Twitter