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French GP: Preview - Alfa Romeo

NEWS STORY
20/07/2022

Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN returns to action this weekend at the French Grand Prix. The team will be racing at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, aiming to get back to the points as it continues its battle in the midfield, with two races to go before the summer break.

The back-to-back races in France and Hungary present a high-octane challenge to bring the first part of the season to an end. Two completely different tracks in similar, searing-hot weather mean teams and cars will be facing harsh conditions in their quest for points. Despite the challenge, both events offer opportunities for Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN to return to scoring ways, and an excellent way to head into the second part of the season with some momentum.

The Paul Ricard track, named after the local businessman, whose determination and love of motorsport made this circuit possible, is a venue that offered a decent share of action in the past few years – even before the new generation of overtake-friendly cars made its appearance. With the 2022 machinery making its debut on the fast, technical French circuit, the hopes are high for a spectacular event: an action-packed race in which Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu can shine and fight their way to a good result.

Summer on the French Riviera is something that evokes images of harbour-side cafes, sun-kissed beaches and pine-lined calanques: motor racing at its most spectacular is a fine addition to this picture.

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal: "We come to France with the motivation to put ourselves back where we belong after two rather difficult back-to-back races in Silverstone and Spielberg. We did not manage to score any points in these outings, but the team has been working hard to understand the causes of our performance and we are confident we can get back to the level we have been enjoying this season so far. The midfield is getting tighter and closer race after race and this is producing some hugely entertaining battles, but our objective is to finish on top of this scrap. We finished just outside the top ten in Austria, and to improve on that should be our starting point for this weekend. In 2021, the Paul Ricard saw plenty of overtakes on track, which should be a good indication for this year's cars. As always, we must be at our very best and be ready for any challenge, to keep up with the good performances we have showed so far and be able to add points to our tally at the end of the weekend."

Valtteri Bottas: "Paul Ricard is a circuit I have quite enjoyed in the past years, having also collected a podium finish here in 2019. It's not too far from where I live, so it has almost a bit of a home race feeling for me. We know we have to keep our confidence high: our target this weekend, just like any other, is to bring home a good result. I was disappointed to finish just outside the points in Spielberg, but the positive was a good recovery from a pitlane start and some good battles. The midfield fight is going to be once again very close and, just as last year, when we had some pretty good overtakes, the race should be an entertaining one. We need to put our focus onto doing our best job on track and get back where we belong: in the points."

Zhou Guanyu: "I have raced on this track in 2016, in F3, and in 2019, in F2, but F1 will be completely different on such a circuit: once again, this weekend everything will be mostly brand new for me, and I cannot wait to get started. There is a bit of a feeling of unfinished business after the last back-to-back, and I think we definitely did not get what we deserved in the last couple of races. I think we have a chance to do well here, and get back to the performance levels we have shown in Canada, scoring the points we have been missing for a few races now. Competition, as usual, will be high, but we are ready to get on track and give our very best."

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