Spanish GP: Preview - Alfa Romeo


Alfa Romeo F1 Team KICK heads to very familiar ground as it prepares for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.

With the Circuit de Catalunya being a popular choice for testing and an ideal layout for data evaluation, the team will aim to make the most of the opportunities it presents, while maximising the new aero package first introduced during last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix.

Barcelona is a track with no secrets. The layout's mix of slow and fast corners, long straights and elevation changes, always made this into an ideal circuit to test new machinery and, paired with the warm(er) conditions prevalent in Catalonia during late winter, meant that the venue was chosen for countless pre-season winter testing events.

No driver on the grid can claim not to know each inch of tarmac around this track; nor can engineers be overly surprised by the behaviour of a car here, notwithstanding the different conditions - in temperature, track grip, even car development - that pass between a testing run in late February and a race weekend practice session at the beginning of June. Barcelona is a good benchmark, most variables being taken out of the equation, to evaluate progression over the first five months of a season, to assess parts in known conditions, to get a feel of where one is, and where one needs to go.

Barcelona is where we first saw the C43 on track. "The moment that you stepped into the room, you took my breath away," sang Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe in their famous 1987 song, "Barcelona". That's how we felt when the C43 first hit the track, back on a sunny morning in February, during our filming day in Catalonia. A new car, just unveiled in its aggressive livery: bundles of potential to unfold, so many questions to answer. We return to Barcelona, four months and six races later, with a much-developed package, a sign of the team's commitment, at the factory and trackside, to extract as much performance from the car as possible.

As Freddie bellowed in the song, Barcelona "was the first time that we met"; when the C43 returns to the Catalan city, later this week, it, too, will aim to shake the foundations from the skies.

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative: "We are looking forward to heading to Barcelona, a track we know well and where we will be able to extract more from the upgrades we introduced in Monaco. We return to the track where our C43 made its debut, in a filming day, four months ago. A lot has happened since, and there's still a long way to go until the finish line: but everyone in the team, both at base and at the races, is working to push the team in the right direction. We may not have scored points in Monaco, but the job done on Sunday both on track, in the garage and on the pitwall was good and we can build on that. We have to keep pushing, on a track that can offer more regular circumstances, and make that step forward to get back into the points."

Valtteri Bottas: "I am very curious as we go to Barcelona. The track layout has changed and there will be an element of discovery to make in practice: in addition, it will be another opportunity to extract performance from our upgrades, especially on a track that is more traditional, in terms of layout, than Monaco. The performance in the Principality was good, as a team: making up four places in Monaco is never easy, even though we just missed out on the points. We must aim for more, though, and Barcelona can be the place where we make a step in the right direction: I'm not the only one in the team who is eager to be on track there, everyone is confident and that's the spirit we all want to see in the team."

Zhou Guanyu: "The Circuit de Catalunya is a track we all know well, it's a known quantity that allows you to really assess where you stand. I enjoy driving here and I'm really looking forward to being back on this track following our filming day earlier in the year. Our Monaco upgrades should be even more effective on this layout, so I am confident we can have some fun and be a bit better here. Last week we were able to make the most progress of all, albeit from the back of the grid, and hopefully that is a good sign going forward. The objective remains the same - qualifying as high as we can and converting that position into points come Sunday."

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Published: 31/05/2023
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