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Saudi Arabian GP: Preview - Alfa Romeo

NEWS STORY
23/03/2022

As season openers go, last week's Bahrain Grand Prix was a cracker. It was an exhilarating race with end-to-end action - and Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN was in the thick of it. Both Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu delivered overtakes and speed on their way to a double-points finish that marked the best start of the season in many years for the team, with a total of nine points to open our tally - and fourth place in the championship to boot.

The first blow is half the battle, the old saying goes: and while, technically speaking, we're less than a twentieth of the way down the line to the Abu Dhabi finale, the positive start we witnessed last week is a good base on which to build. It is testament to the quality of the project that culminated in the C42, a project we will need to sustain for the rest of the season to remain in the battle at the front of the midfield.

The team is motivated and galvanised by last week's results, and it's ready for the battle ahead. There is a positive energy pervading the squad, one felt both in Hinwil and at the track: the firm conviction that we're in this fight and we're ready to show what we're made of.

As we head to Saudi Arabia, a track that gave us a strong performance last year but has undergone significant layout changes in the few months since that race, we know there's still a long way ahead in this 2022 championship. But we landed the first blow, and it was definitely a case of starting as we mean to go on.

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal: "Starting the season with two cars in the points is a great feeling, and to be back on track within a week allows us to channel this enthusiasm and momentum into hopefully another good result. I was impressed, but not surprised, by how the team approached the weekend and by the level of confidence we had in our means: we know the whole team worked well during the year leading to this and we are eager to show the world what we can do. There is a clear feeling we have a competitive car and a determined pair of drivers, and this is boosting morale for everyone in the team. However, we are under no illusion about the challenge ahead: we saw how close the field is in Bahrain and how competitive qualifying and the race are. We know we need to be at the top of our game and deliver another good weekend: if we do that, having cars in the points is a realistic prospect."

Valtteri Bottas: "It's nice to be back in the car soon after a good result. It gives us the chance to build on the strong performance we showed last weekend and fix the things that can be improved. It's still early days in the season and we expect the balance on track to shift backwards and forwards as teams bring updates, but we are not standing still either and we are determined to stay on top of this curve. I see real motivation in the team and it was super to see the delight on the faces of everyone there. We are going in the right direction and Saudi Arabia will be another race in which we can fight for a good result: the track has undergone some changes to make it even quicker than it was last year. I am looking forward to driving the new layout and see if that suits us."

Zhou Guanyu: "Starting with a finish in the top 10 is a dream come true, but now it needs to be a happy memory: my focus is already on the next race and on keeping performing well. Every time I step into the cockpit is a chance to learn something new and to get more comfortable in the car: I know I have to keep working hard, not just because I know how competitive everyone around me is, but also because I demand the best of myself in every occasion. The Jeddah Corniche circuit is not new for me, as I raced there in F2 last year, but of course it will be a very different experience in this year's F1 cars. The layout has changed but it remains an incredibly challenging track which requires 100% focus and punishes mistakes: still, it will be something incredible to tackle it with these cars."

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