Alfa Romeo “pushing a lot to make sure that we get all the upgrades as soon as possible”

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Photo Credits: Alfa Romeo F1 Team KICK

Alfa Romeo F1 Team KICK was back to point scoring ways in Spain as they left the Barcelona Grand Prix with another two points. This result brought their season’s tally up to 8 and meant they are now level on points with Haas F1 Team as they seek to chase down their rivals. It is very clear that the midfield is a clustered situation, and one decision can be the difference between P9 and P16. Alfa Romeo F1 Team KICK’s Head of trackside Engineering, Xevi Pujolar told select media in a virtual press conference post-race in Barcelona, that following the recent updates, the team is happy with the general overall characteristic of the car. Pujolar also indicated that further updates are on the way.


This year’s Spanish Grand Prix epitomised the reliability of the current field of F1 cars as it was a race which featured no yellow flags, on-track incidents or retirements. In such a race, everything must be on form to have any chance of scoring points. Also, in a season which has seen Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team battling at the front, there are now less points available to the midfield on a typical weekend. This point was highlighted by Xevi Pujolar in his recent remarks. 


“What you see in qualifying is everything so extremely tight. That from P9 to P16 there is nothing and to be able to say ‘we are P9 or P10’ I think there is a group there that is very volatile. From run to run, in free practice or from session to session you can be in any position and that puts pressure on us but it’s pressure to everyone in that group so it’s extremely important to look into all the details…I think we made most of it with what we had and that’s how we achieved the points but it’s difficult to get it every weekend like this because everyone is aiming for the same,” said Pujolar.


It wasn’t all smiles for the team though as Valtteri Bottas’ race was compromised at the start. Damage to the floor of his C43 (caused by some debris) had a severe impact on his car’s performance. However, his teammate Zhou Guanyu excelled and crossed the finish line in P10 before being immediately promoted a place higher after a controversial penalty to Yuki Tsunoda.


Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Alfa Romeo’s Team Representative announced in the team’s press released: “Today, we showed that we’re ready to fight for every single lap, every single tenth of a second on track. We have shown that, working together with determination and as a team, we can deliver the result we all, and our drivers, deserve. The field is very close, we saw that today: every thousandth of a second matters so we need to be aggressive, have a results-driven mentality.”


Xevi Pujolar also spoke to media about the closeness of the midfield, the togetherness being shown by his team and the importance of reliability – something seen by Alfa Romeo on numerous occasions in 2023.


“When everything is so tight for us (for everyone) but especially for us, we put a lot of effort to make sure that we finish races because that’s already, if you want to be able to be in that fight, you need to make sure first to finish the race. But everyone is doing the same and then everyone wants to be there then at the end of the race and that’s how it becomes extremely difficult. Already in terms of performance it is very tight and then if everyone is finishing the race is even more difficult to score points you see outside of the top teams, that they were three – now they are four – the points is the last two positions pretty much,” stated Pujolar.


The current package, according to Pujolar, is ‘working as expected’ and his team ‘can be a bit closer to the competition’.

However, it seems that any time a team brings an update, they almost move forward 3 to 4 positions. As such, it was put to Pujolar as to whether that gives the team any extra incentive to bring any little upgrade they can – instead of waiting for major ones.

“We are pushing a lot just to make sure that we get all the upgrades as soon as possible. So, we have got the factory, and everyone is flat out, the whole team, because the competition is not only on track it’s also at the factory and for everyone it is the same,”

One factor which may be influencing many upgrades for teams throughout the field is the recent sighting of the RB19 floor. Images of this feat of engineering beamed around the world after Sergio Perez’ car was hoisted by a crane and elevated for all to see several weeks back in Monaco. Pujolar explained how such observations may prove valuable.


“I think all the teams, they look at the pictures and try to analyse and try to understand what is the reason why they [Red Bull Racing] took this direction and if we have done similar or they take a different approach. And then you do, you take a direction but it’s always good to compare which kind of approach all the teams are taking and try to understand the reason why they go that way and see if you can learn something from it, from the floor, from anything,” explained Pujolar.


In terms of Alfa Romeo’s upgrade plan, many fans are surely hoping to see another step up in performance in the coming weeks at the Austrian Grand Prix or the British Grand Prix. Pujolar gave no definitive answer but did indicate that followers of his team have reason to be hopeful whilst also admitting every team no doubt has the same intention.


“In terms of the general overall characteristic of the car we’re happy with just developing and we’ll bring some updates in the next few races. I think there’s some good updates in the pipeline. But I presume it will be the same for most of our competitors. So, as far as we can keep up with everyone, you see. Like today, it’s great that we can have a fight with all the competitors and have a points finish. So, that’s what we want to have regularly,” concluded Pujolar.


The Canadian Grand Prix was a happy hunting ground for Alfa Romeo last season as the team secured P7 and P8 from their weekend’s effort. That day saw 10 points head the way of the team but such an outcome this weekend would be an extremely ambitious one. One can imagine that Alfa Romeo has their eyes on P9 and P10. With confidence high you wouldn’t bet against them securing at least one of those by the time the chequered flag falls in Montreal on Sunday.