Completing F1 race distance Bottas' "biggest concern" for Alfa Romeo

Valtteri Bottas is unsure Alfa Romeo will be able to complete a full grand prix distance after reliability plagued the team’s running in Formula 1 pre-season testing.
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Alfa Romeo F1 Team C42.
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Alfa Romeo F1 Team C42.

Alfa Romeo endured a difficult first test as it completed the second-least mileage of any team, with Bottas only getting 54 laps under his belt in Barcelona.

Bahrain was a better test for Alfa Romeo, although Bottas stopped out on track on two separate occasions across the three days.

Looking ahead to this weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Bottas is hopeful there are no more reliability issues for the team.

“At the moment, now, the biggest concern is getting the race distance done,” Bottas said. “We’ve had multiple, different kind of issues, these tests, but we’ve been always able to fix them and we hope there are no issues coming up.

“Otherwise, in terms of performance, my feeling now is that the team has made a clear step forward from the last years and that’s nice to see. In testing, you can’t really see the whole picture but we’re not far off from where we should be.”

Bottas set the sixth-best time overall across the three days of running in Bahrain - a 1m32.985s on the C3 tyre, 1.2s down on Max Verstappen’s top time on the C5.

Bottas sees potential in the Alfa Romeo C42 but conceded the car setup still needs to be refined ahead of the first grand prix of the year on Sunday.

“For sure there was more [potential], but I think that there’s more from everyone, as that’s normal in testing,” he added. “But when the car works, it’s not bad. I was really starting to like the car, both in high fuel and with a little bit lower fuel it felt pretty decent.

“We’ve got a clear direction for the set-up that we still need to go to, to extract more performance, because, in general, it’s not easy to turn the car quickly and early.

“That’s also a characteristic of the new tyres, the fronts are quite weak in combined braking especially. It was a good day for learning, and the main thing is that we need to fix all the issues we’re having now.”

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