Alfa Romeo F1 Team KICK heads to Melbourne for round three of the 2023 Formula One world championship. The team will be fully committed to the fight for a place in the points, with Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu having delivered strong performances in Australia in the past; the C43 will also sport some upgrades, as the team continues its push for performance.
Crikey! It's Australia week - and Formula One is embarking on the longest journey of the season to surface in Melbourne, Victoria, for one of the best-liked events of the year. Going on a plane for nearly a full day (if not more) is totally worth it when one of the greatest, most laid-back, and friendliest cities in the world awaits you at the end of the flight.
Melbourne is brilliant. A vibrant art scene, glorious coffee, and chill lifestyle all conspire to make this weekend a popular one. This is none the more so than for Valtteri and Zhou. Both have good memories from the city, on and off the track, and both have good reasons to look forward to this weekend's race. Zhou, who delivered a strong performance at Albert Park twelve months ago, finishing whiskers away from the points on his first visit to the track, remarked about the large Chinese community thriving in the capital of Victoria: you're never far from a bubble tea place in Melbourne - nor from some fans who will be ready to cheer the Chinese ace on!
As for Valtteri, the connections with Australia are many. First and foremost, Tiffany - for the mind goes where the heart leads. Over the years, Valtteri - who won in Melbourne in 2019 - has become almost an adopted Aussie: we saw him kicking a Sherrin, driving Supercars, sampling the best flat whites in town - all things, of course, a local would totally do on any given day.
And then there's the mullet.
Few F1 fans and personnel haven't seen that infamous video - as Valtteri fully transforms and releases his inner Aussie. Thongs and singlet complement the look - dare we say, the Look (capital L) - as our man embraces the most down-under version of himself. And, far from being an off-season stunt, the mullet is here to stay, in all its glory: a symbol of defiance, maybe; surely a sign that Valtteri just enjoys a little bit of harmless fun - and, most importantly, just being himself.
So g'day, Melbourne, and thank you for having us. On a week when we celebrate all Australians, whatever their background and connection to the land; when we honour the history and traditions of this place, the past and the present of this beautiful, electrifying land; and make our contribution to the future generations living here, we all feel a little bit Australian.
This race weekend, we embrace the mullet.
Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative: "We approach the race in Melbourne with confidence, knowing we have all it takes to fight for points again. We used the time since Jeddah to understand how we can extract more performance from our current package. On top of that, we will also have some new parts on the car, which we are eager to evaluate, as the team back home keeps pushing to bring more performance to the C43. All things considered, we are looking forward to Australia: it's a modern classic of Formula One and it's always a special feeling to be there. The fans on the Melbourne Walk are a great sight and everyone makes us feel at home - even on the other side of the world."
Valtteri Bottas: "I don't think it's a surprise that I love it here in Australia - everyone knows that by now! I consider this almost a home race: I was at the Adelaide Motorsport Festival last weekend, where I drove an Aussie V8 and a classic Alfa Romeo touring car - so I'm already in the mood for racing. I am really keen on scoring a good result for the team on a track I like: I strongly believe our car has the potential to do well, and leave the tough weekend we had in Saudi behind. We have seen how close everyone is this season, but if we put out a strong performance from the very start of the weekend, we'll be able to get back in the points."
Zhou Guanyu: "Last year's race in Melbourne was one of my favourite races of the season and I'm looking forward to going back. The Chinese community here is quite big, and it was great to feel their support from the grandstands from day one: I am sure there will be just as many fans cheering for us this season. After the strong performance in Bahrain, we expected more from Jeddah, but the race in Saudi didn't shake our belief in being capable of fighting at a high level again in Melbourne. We know what we need to do to bring home the points: we also have some updates to test, and we're confident we can have a successful weekend."