[Bottas: Alfa Romeo 2023 F1 car was “born” missing winter targets
The Swiss outfit has managed just nine points over the opening 12 races of the season, having managed 51 points at the same interval last season. Bottas’s eighth place at the season opener in Bahrain remains the high water mark this year.
Explaining where the team has fallen short, Bottas felt that the team started the season from a weaker position compared to last year, and has been unable to catch up with its developments over the year relative to the other teams.
Although unsatisfied with the results of the current car, he felt that it was important for the team to learn from it in its 2024 plans rather than become frustrated and lose sight of its future developments.
“Everyone in the team understands that the starting point of the season was not as strong as last year, and it’s been quite difficult to get up from there,” said Bottas.
“Yes, we’ve been bringing upgrades, but so is everybody else. That’s how it goes.
“We’re not satisfied with the performance at the moment and it’s tough racing at the back when you want to be close to the front. But we don’t get frustrated yet, because we need to look ahead and now make a good plan for next year.
“We’ve been out-developed, yes. Also, the way the car was born, just the pure performance level was not where we wanted. Ever since then everyone’s improving, and some teams have made big steps – like McLaren recently.
Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo F1 Team
Photo by: Michael Potts / Motorsport Images
“I mean by those performance targets, where we wanted to be in terms of what we find in old areas, whether it’s mechanical, whether it’s aero, whether it’s about tyres – the level where we started wasn’t where we wanted to be.”
Bottas added that the team’s bright start to last season, where it had one of few cars that had managed to meet the weight target with the new regulations package, has cast 2023’s efforts in a dimmer light.
He felt that the team’s regression to the mean over the second half of last year was a better representation of the team’s capabilities, and that although the C43 wasn’t inherently flawed, small shortfalls over the whole car had added up to take their toll.
“I think in the first like five, six races of last year, for sure it looked maybe a bit better than what it was because of some teams having issues, and we were one of the only teams on the weight limit.
“Then the mid-season and the end season probably was more representative like where we were. But even from that, we were expecting to make a step.
“There’s no one particular area of the car, or team, or factories [that is weak]. Just small things here and there combined. So we just need to keep outworking other teams. That’s the only solution.
“[We must] look into the future and make a clear plan. Obviously, there’s been quite a few changes in the team, in the management and big roles.
“There’s more people coming later this year, so there’s still a bit of restructuring going on and the results of those obviously we won’t see this year – that’s going to be in the future.”