Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas were put out of their misery at F1’s season finale in Abu Dhabi, and not a moment too soon after their long and laborious 2023 campaign with Alfa Romeo.
In qualifying and on race day at Yas Marina, Zhou and Bottas were constrained to the lower tier of the field, with the pair concluding their evening respectively P17 and P19.
For Zhou, last weekend’s epilogue pretty much summed up Alfa’s arduous season.
“Yeah, didn’t do anything wrong, had a good start against opposition, but then the pace while everybody settled, we just started sliding backwards” he said.
“So, unfortunately, it is how it is this year. Glad it’s finished, it’s been a very long, tough season.”
An equally unexcited Bottas pointed to his one-stop strategy as part of the reason for his lacklustre race.
“The pace was not great today, I think that was the biggest issue of the race," said the Finn.
“We also tried two different strategies between the cars; I went for the one-stop hoping it would work but for us but it just didn’t, the tyres just wouldn’t last and the pace was just way off the window.
“Unfortunately, it’s slightly the story of the year – ultimately the biggest issue has been the raw pace. On the other hand, I’m glad it’s over now and next year everyone starts from zero again.”
Overall, Alfa ended its year ninth in F1’s Constructors’ championship, just four points ahead of Haas.
Neither Zhou nor Bottas scored a single point in the final five races of the season. But the shortage was hardly surprising given the lack of development of the Hinwil squad’s C43 in the back half of the season.
“Let’s say our main rivals from the beginning of the season, they were able to just change massively, probably introduce a new car or B car over the season and made a very good step forward,” Zhou explained.
“Obviously, we knew we were going to get that plan for next season. So this year was more about suffering the last few races.”
It became evident early in the season that an entirely new design would be necessary for 2024.
“The main thing is we need a new car and it needs to be different,” commented Bottas. “So that’s, I would say the biggest take we take from this year.
“Clearly we’ve hit the end with this car’s development, we just haven’t been able to find anything big. So the whole concept needs to be different.”
Alfa Romeo managing director Alessandro Alunni Bravi confirmed earlier this month that the Swiss outfit would indeed field a brand new car in 2024.
“I’m happy because there’s differences,” added Bottas. “I think that’s what we need.”