Alfa Romeo’s start to the 2022 season has proven a surprise to many, with the Switzerland-based team consistently having the pace to fight for points in the first four rounds of the year.
Valtteri Bottas has become something of a dark horse, securing three points finishes already this season, putting the Finnish driver 8th in the drivers’ standings and within touching distance of his former teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Zhou Guanyu has shown respectable pace at times this season, with penalty shenanigans in Jeddah and contact with Pierre Gasly in the Imola sprint likely damaging the Chinese driver’s points total thus far.
Regardless of the differing fortunes of the two drivers, Alfa Romeo find themselves 5th in the constructors, and unlike many of their rivals – who have had peaks and troughs in form – Alfa Romeo’s C42 has been reliably fast enough to score points.
With the Miami GP approaching and looking to continue their strong performances to start the season, Alfa Romeo has set their sights on McLaren and Alpine.
Speaking to motorlat.com, Xevi Pujolar, head of trackside engineering at Alfa Romeo, has outlined the teams’ objectives in the upcoming rounds:
“For us the challenge is fightiing with Alpine and McLaren, that’s our next target. So far I think we have shown that we are getting there”.
Ambitions for fifth place and even higher show Alfa Romeo’s incredible progress over winter. Since the Swiss team rebranded to Alfa Romeo, they have never exceeded 8th in the standings, with Sauber themselves last achieving a top-six position in the championship in 2012.
Alfa Romeo has had a good handle of porpoising throughout the season, owing to the concerted efforts made by the team’s engineers to prevent the C42 from being overly sensitive to changes in ride height.
This is an issue other teams (such as the Mercedes) have battled with, given that attempts to limit porpoising by changing ride height invariably sacrifice lap-time and aerodynamic stability.
Regardless of the difficulties faced by other teams, Alfa Romeo’s machine is not to be underestimated and given the highly competitive nature of the midfield this season, it will be critical to maintain their early momentum and – if possible – cut down on unforced errors, such as that which cost Valtteri Bottas a P4 finish at Imola.