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Hungarian GP: Preview - Alfa Romeo

NEWS STORY
19/07/2023

Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake heads to Budapest for the first of the two races bringing the opening half of the championship to a close. The Hungaroring will be a complete opposite, layout-wise, of Silverstone and, with it, the team will aim for a full reversal of fortunes from its latest outing.

The peak of summer is here in Europe and the spiking temperatures are making themselves felt. Day after day, the news bombard us with stories of heatwaves, new records and other displays of things being hot, sticky and uncomfortable all the way from TrÝmso to Athens (probably a bit more so at lower latitudes).

In the dog days of summer, the Formula One caravan arrives in Hungary for one of the classic races of the calendar: on a track, in Mogyorod on the outskirts of Budapest, that underwent only subtle changes since its first appearance in 1986, one that produced so many shocks and upsets in recent years, in front of legions of fans ready to brave the elements.

In recent years, Hungary was a race that immediately brought up images of the impending summer break, with a last-day-of-school feeling made even more obvious by the tantalising water park on the hill above turn five. That feeling is now gone, Hungary being the first half of a double-header taking us to Belgium a month ahead of its usual slot (and the rain season in the Ardennes). What isn't gone, however, is the pressing need for results, something shared by everyone on the grid. Belgium notwithstanding, it's now time to draw the first sums of the season ahead of the summer break, and everyone, much like students in the run-up to finals, are pushing to make a step forward.

Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake, having introduced a new upgrade in Britain, will aim to continue optimising a package that showed some promising signs in Silverstone. Work never stops in Hinwil, at the team's headquarters, and new parts are already seeing the light of day as we prepare the next raft of upgrades, due to come after the summer; but there's plenty of refining to do trackside too, to extract the full potential of the cars Valtteri and Zhou are taking into battle.

It'll be a fight of margins, a contest in which design goes hand in hand with execution - and of course, racecraft by those within the cockpit. The waterpark on the Mogyorod hills may still be spraying water in the air, creating rainbows all across the sky: but the battle is still heating up in the garages and on the tarmac of the Hungaroring.

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative: "We head to Hungary with the objective to bounce back after two rather challenging back-to-back races in Spielberg and Silverstone. We expected more from these two races, especially with the upgrades we brought to Great Britain, but we took a good look at our most recent performances and understood further ways to optimize our new aero package. As a positive, we saw an improvement in our race pace, which gives us confidence for the upcoming double header, the final one before the summer break. We have seen how crucial it is to execute the perfect race, in a season where every margin, every tenth could make the difference at the end of a session. As we aim to get back to scoring points, each one of us will be putting their focus on being at their very best from Friday onwards, with no room for mistakes."

Valtteri Bottas: "It was good to have some time to get back to work following the previous double header, especially as we didn't get the results we had expected; it was a chance to put my focus back on the remaining races before the summer break, as well as training in the sim to find that extra bit of performance that could help us during the weekend. The upgrades we brought in Silverstone allowed us to make a slight improvement in terms of pace, even though we didn't get all out of them, and I know we have all been working hard to fully unlock their potential. I have always enjoyed racing at the Hungaroring in the past, and I am keen to be back this weekend. It's as close to a home race as it gets, for a Finnish driver, and I love the old-school atmosphere of the track. Our task there will be only one: finding our momentum again and adding new points to our tally."

Zhou Guanyu: "With a new double header come new opportunities, and I am ready to get back on track. Without doubt, Spielberg and Silverstone have been quite tough for the team, but what matters is that they are now behind us, and all of us have been working hard back home in Hinwil to improve on our weaknesses. Our main competitors have made a clear step forward in the most recent races, also thanks to the upgrades they have brought, but I am confident we have a chance to match them and get back in the mix this weekend in Budapest. It will be important to get every single detail right from the first practice session, as execution is often the difference between a positive and a negative result, and place ourselves in a favourable position on the grid: points are awarded on Sunday, and we will be ready to put up a fight."

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