Alfa Romeo is back in the game
In great difficulty last season, the team led by Frédéric Vasseur made enormous progress in 2022. 6th in the championship, the Italians scored four times as many points as during the previous campaign. The arrival of the experienced Valtteri Bottas, coupled with the youth of Guanyu Zhou, has given new impetus to the Hinwil stable.
Alfa Romeo (6th, 55 points): unexpected return
From penultimate to the gates of the top-5, who could have predicted such a good forward from Alfa Romeo? The Swiss team has scored points 10 times out of the 22 Grands Prix scheduled for the 2022 calendar, four times more than last season. Better still, Frédéric Vasseur’s men had two weekends with more than 10 points, at Imola and in Canada. With 55 units registered, compared to 13 in 2021, Alfa Romeo has taken a real step forward. The renewal of the line-up, Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou instead of Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi, is also a reason for this progression.
Valtteri Bottas (10th, 49 points): on alternating current
Far from Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas found a midfield stable where he had the role of leader. After five seasons living in the shadow of the British legend, the Finn also had a role as a trainer to best support rookie Guanyu Zhou. The adventure at Alfa Romeo started perfectly for the N°77 with 7 entries in the points on the first 9 races. He finished in particular twice in 6th place (Bahrain and Barcelona) and twice in 7th position (Miami and Canada), results never achieved last year by the Swiss team. Unfortunately for the former Williams driver, a series of 10 Grands Prix without entering the top-10 was to begin from Silverstone to Mexico, where he picked up the point of 10th place. A convincing first season for Valtteri Bottas in his new team. His experience and his science of racing acquired over the years have inevitably helped Alfa Romeo to progress. As a bonus, Valtteri Bottas signed the team’s best qualifying result since 2019, a 5th place on the Miami GP grid. The choice to recruit the Finn is therefore a winning bet.
Guanyu Zhou (18th, 6 points): the miracle of Silverstone
The first Chinese driver to race in Formula 1, Guanyu Zhou knew he was expected. His adventure in the premier class got off to a perfect start with a top-10 in the opening race in Bahrain. Less prominent than his teammate, the 3rd in F2 2021 went through a logical learning phase for a rookie. The native of Shanghai offered the best result of his season in Canada with an 8th place. Again in the points at Monza (10th), Guanyu Zhou especially experienced a moment of dread a few weeks earlier at Silverstone. Hit at the rear by George Russell, the Chinese single-seater flew into the English sky before rolling over and continuing on the roof. She finished her race behind the safety rail, against the fence protecting the spectators. Despite this chilling accident, Guanyu Zhou emerged unscathed, proof that safety in Formula 1 continues to get closer to perfection.
FORMULA 1: Guanyu Zhou’s huge accident seen from the stands of Silverstone pic.twitter.com/jTBTtgkHzG ! We talk about it at 5 p.m. on @RTLFrance #Formula 1 #BritishGP2022
— Frederic Vigil (@fredveille) July 3, 2022
Season 2023: Bottas and Zhou still present, Vasseur too?
A time in the pipes to be aligned next to Valtteri Bottas, Théo Pourchaire saw Guanyu Zhou being renewed for next season. The French driver, vice-champion of F2 this year, will have the role of 3rd driver within Alfa Romeo. If the two drivers are sure to be there, the team manager is not yet.
With the departure of Mattia Binotto at Ferrari, the place of team principal is now free. Among the most mentioned names is that of Frédéric Vasseur, who holds this position at Alfa Romeo. If for the moment, no decision has been made, joining the Scuderia would be a great challenge for the Frenchman. In the meantime, the drivers of the Swiss team will work hard to keep this place next year and why not get even closer to the top-5.