With the top five teams in the Constructors’ Championship regularly occupying the points place, with Alpine also in the mix on given weekends as well, points-scoring opportunities have largely been a premium for the rest of the 2023 grid.
Consequently, Alfa Romeo has been left in a scrap with the likes of Williams, Haas and AlphaTauri to try and take advantage when the chance for points arises.
But maximising opportunities has been something the Italian marque has been unable to do throughout the campaign.
One aspect hindering the team’s ability to fight for points is a lack of Q3 appearances in qualifying, especially from well-renowned one-lap expert Bottas. The Finn has just two Q3 appearances to his name so far this season, compared to six top-10 starts from the first 12 races in 2022.
However, both Bottas and team-mate Zhou Guanyu qualified inside the top seven in Hungary, but any hopes of points were dashed by a disastrous opening lap for the pair. A clutch issue and contact at Turn 1 derailed Zhou’s hopes, while Bottas was shuffled down the order and never recovered.
That type of tentativeness has seen Bottas unable to make inroads from lowly starting positions, resulting in only one point in Canada since he finished eighth in Bahrain.
Meanwhile, the story has been similar on Zhou’s side of the garage. The Chinese driver has looked more than capable in his sophomore F1 season, but Alfa Romeo’s C43 car hasn’t enabled either driver to truly show what they are capable of on a consistent basis.
Having only recorded one top-10 starting berth, Zhou has scored points on two occasions through a pair of ninth-place finishes in Australia and Spain respectively.
Alfa Romeo’s current four-round pointless run is the worst form of any team heading into the shutdown, which can only be providing cause for concern for those at Audi who are set to inherit the floundering outfit in under three years’ time.
Changes have already been made to alleviate Alfa Romeo’s plight. Technical director Jan Monchaux was dropped and replaced by former McLaren man James Key, who will begin work later this year, plus an upgrade package was brought in at Silverstone with more set to follow after the summer break.
Once racing resumes action in Zandvoort next weekend, Alfa Romeo will be hopeful of avoiding the downward spiral that occurred in the latter half of last season, where a run of just four points in the last 13 rounds saw them narrowly hang on to sixth place in the standings with 55 points.