Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake left Zandvoort with no reward after a challenging weekend in the Netherlands. In a race heavily affected by the weather, with sudden downpours making the track nigh on undrivable, Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas both drove within the points at times: Eventually, though, the team could not capitalise on this position, with Valtteri finishing 14th and Zhou emerging unscathed from a rain-induced crash at turn one
The team will regroup and focus on the next event, the final European race of the season and a key moment of our year – the Italian Grand Prix.
Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):
First and foremost, I am really glad to see Zhou is okay after his crash. Every chaotic race is an opportunity, and I feel we weren’t able to really make the most of it today. We had a really good start, making up a lot of positions, and when the rain came, we kept it on track, which was not easy in such challenging conditions. The grip out there was very poor, and visibility was limited, which on such a technical track is making driving even harder. In the end, we did not have the pace to be in the points, especially in regular circumstances. We need to understand what went on and improve on it; I know everyone is working hard for it. Next up is Monza: it’s an important race for us, on a completely different track, and we can surely do better than this. There will be a lot of people from our factory on the stands, and we’re looking forward to all the support.
Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):
Finishing the race in the barrier is never nice: I am not injured, which is the most important thing, but I’m disappointed as we were doing a decent race until then. The downpour was very sudden, and it was a tricky moment for me: I was one of the first on the scene at turn one, I wasn’t pushing given the conditions, but as soon as I touched the brakes, the car aquaplaned. There was nothing I could really do, I couldn’t scrub any speed, and I just went straight into the barriers. Before that, it had been a busy race in which we spent a lot of time in good positions. We were quite strong in the wet, but as soon as it got dry, we didn’t really have the pace to stay in the top ten. The Safety Car didn’t help us either: we were on medium tyres, hoping to go long, but as soon as the race was neutralised, we ended up among those on soft tyres, and it was not possible to keep them behind. We move on to Monza now, an important race for us: Hopefully, we can have a better outcome.
Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative:
This race marks the end of a difficult weekend for the team. We were not competitive in qualifying or the race, and this was the key element on which we would need to focus. The team tried everything: we made some good strategic calls in the changing conditions and put ourselves in a good position with Zhou. We tried the opposite strategy with Valtteri, leaving him out on dry tyres in order to cover all scenarios. Our mechanics did a good job managing all the pit stops in difficult conditions. Unfortunately, in the end, there was just not enough pace in the car, and when conditions returned to normal, we were not able to remain at the points. Zhou’s crash had a big impact, but thankfully he was able to walk away with no injury. We’re not letting our head drop: we’ll keep working hard to improve our performance and move forward, starting next weekend in Monza.