2022 Japanese Grand Prix – Sunday

Suzuka, 9 October 2022 – Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN saw the chequered flag in a chaotic Japanese Grand Prix, but there was no reward for Valtteri Bottas’s and Zhou Guanyu’s heroics under the pouring rain in Suzuka. Despite the team’s relentless work in a red-flagged, much-delayed race, Valtteri and Zhou finished in 15th and 16th place respectively. Showing impressive pace after a pit-stop for intermediates, Zhou set the fastest lap of the race – his first such accolade in his Formula One career.

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal: “Today was a difficult day in which the team performed under very tough conditions. In the end, there was no top ten finish for us, despite a quick car: overtaking turned out to be very difficult, even with a pace advantage, and we couldn’t make the progress we wanted after a challenging start. It’s a shame to leave Japan with no points: we now have to regroup and make sure we hit the right note in Austin, in two weeks. We know our car and our team are capable of battling towards the front of the midfield, but we need to get our work done to be there. One last thought has to go to the incredible Japanese fans: their presence has made the atmosphere of this race unique, despite the weather. They have been superb from Thursday to tonight and we’re looking forward to seeing them again next year.”

Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN C42 (Chassis 01/Ferrari)
Race result: 15th
Fastest lap: 1:47.820 (Lap 11)
Tyres: New Intermediate (2 laps) – New Wet (5 laps) – New Intermediate (22 laps)

“The conditions were very difficult today, in particular at the beginning of the race. The first couple of laps were quite risky, mostly because visibility wasn’t great from my position, it was a bit sketchy. We seemed to have good pace, especially as the track dried out a bit, but unfortunately it was difficult to overtake today: I think most of the drivers struggled with that, which was a shame as I ended up stuck behind Magnussen for pretty much all of the race. We can still find some positives from this weekend: we were super close to getting into Q3 yesterday, so that’s good. It’s a small improvement, and we must aim for it for the final races of the season. Hopefully, we can build on that, and have a good qualifying in Austin in a few weeks, where we will also be bringing some additional upgrades on the car.”

Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN C42 (Chassis 03/Ferrari)
Race result: 16th
Fastest lap: 1:44.411 (Lap 20)
Tyres: New Intermediate (2 laps) – New Wet (7 laps) – New Intermediate (9 laps) – New Intermediate (10 laps)

“I have positives to take from the weekend, even though we didn’t score. It was nice to see that we can still be so close and have good pace; furthermore, it being my first time in Suzuka, I learned a lot over the weekend. Overall, it was a typical Sunday with weather changes and very low visibility. At the start, I suffered a spin at the hairpin, meaning I had to come back from the bottom. At the restart, there were only two ways to go: you either pitted on lap one to go on inters, or you tried to stay out hoping for more rain. I was quite far behind and there was a lot of spray coming my way from the cars in front, so I felt like the best option was to stay out on the wets. We did that, and when we saw the inters were clearly faster, I knew the gamble was lost: still, we gave it a try, and I got to gain my first-ever fastest lap for that. We can be quietly confident for the future: the upgrades we introduced this weekend are looking positive, but we still need some more time to properly understand them.”

Lesley Sutton
Public Relations Manager
Mail: lesley.sutton@stellantis.com
Office: +27 82 570 7711

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