Half-term report: Alfa Romeo – where do they stand after cutting pecking order to 2023?

Alfa Romeo finished sixth in the championship last year – their best finish in a decade – but following a winter of transition with the departure of team principal Fred Vasseur to Ferrari and the arrival of Andreas Seidl as CEO, they have so far struggled for form in 2023. So, let’s take a look at their half-yearly report…

Excellent finish

Valtteri Bottas – 8th in Bahrain

Valtteri Bottas’ eighth place finish at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix is ​​still Alfa Romeo’s best finish of the season. Finn produced one of the quiet but efficient performances we’ve come to expect from him to finish in the top 10.

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Bottas finished 12th, but a strong start and an epic first stage saw him find himself in sixth place at one point before overcutting the cars in front in the early stages. He lost places to faster cars but came home in eighth place.

At this stage of the season, those four points account for almost half of Alfa Romeo’s tally, which is ninth in the championship with nine points in the group.


Valtteri Bottas’ P8 finish in Bahrain is still Alfa Romeo’s best result this year

Face-to-face qualifying

Head-to-head: Valtteri Bottas 8 – 4 Cho Guanyu

The scores may not reflect it, but in his second year, Joe is very close to his veteran teammate. On dry weekends, the two drivers are very well matched, with usually only a tenth or two separating the pair.

Bottas has placed in Q3 on two occasions this year, despite finishing 10th in Miami and fifth in Hungary (P7) – Zuku.

Also Read: Alunni Bravi makes key priority as she joins Alfa Romeo tech team next month

The race is head-to-head

Valtteri Bottas 8 – 4 Zhou Guanyu

As with qualifying, drivers are fairly evenly matched in terms of average positions. However, when the two crossed the line on a Sunday, Bottas was ahead of Joe more times than not in the first 12 races.

The Finns P8 in Bahrain was their best finish of the year and Bottas added it back to the points in Montreal, where he finished 10th. Zhou, on the other hand, has only once broken into the top 10, finishing ninth in Barcelona.


BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 05: Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Alfa Romeo F1 of China and Joe Guanyu of China

Although the pair are close in pace, Bottas has the advantage in qualifying and the race over Jue.

Great moment

In a year where they haven’t had the success they’d hoped for, Alfa Romeo showed signs on Saturday in Budapest that they’re beginning to recapture the form they’ve shown in the early stages of the 2022 season.

After showing good pace all weekend, Joe qualified fifth – the best grid slot of his career – with Bottas lining up behind him on stage seven. Both drivers briefly topped the timesheets with competitive times – with Zhou also setting the fastest time in Q1.

Also read: Our writers look back at 2023 so far and predict what’s to come in the second half of the season

Bad moment

Sunday’s result in Budapest didn’t go their way as both drivers finished outside the points despite their promising grid slots, but the Azerbaijan weekend could be an even tougher one for Alfa Romeo. Zhou retired with mechanical problems, while Bottas finished the day last among the remaining runners in 18th place.

Even on the previous day’s Sprint Saturday, both drivers failed at the first hurdle of SQ1 and Zhou finished 12th from 16th in the 100KM run, with Bottas only able to cross the line in P16 after starting 17th.


MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 28: Valtteri Bottas (77) of Finland drives an Alfa Romeo F1 C43 Ferrari.

Alfa Romeo would pick up a few more points and finish seventh in the championship

Going ahead

The aim for the final 10 races of the campaign is to try to recapture some of the form they showed in the early stages of the 2022 season, at the start of the new ground effect technical regulations.

Although they have struggled to finish in the top 10 so far this year, they are only two points behind Williams and Haas in the championship, so could easily move up to take P7 with a few good results.

But the behind-the-scenes work at the Hinville factory may be more important. With Alfa Romeo exiting, the team will return to the Sauber name for next season, and Seidl’s job is to prepare the outfit to become a full works Audi team for 2026.

On the technical side, ex-McLaren man James Key joins in September with a clear mandate to develop that part of the operation, while trying to improve results on the track as quickly as possible.

Also Read: Alunni Bravi makes key priority as she joins Alfa Romeo tech team next month

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