The 2022 Formula 1 season of Alfa Romeo-Sauber had started in the best way possible, and even better than the Hinwil team itself expected. The results from the first races seemed to show that Alfa Romeo could fight for fourth place in the Constructors Championship. In some cases, the C42 car were even just behind Ferrari and Red Bull.
If Guanyu Zhou paid for a bit due to inexperience, Valtteri Bottas often managed to capitalize on the car’s potential. Unfortunately, there were several technical problems limiting the results of the C42. The Ferrari Power Unit was a limitation for them too, just as was the case for the Marabello team, in addition to further mechanical problems due to the components which Alfa Romeo decided to produce itself, such as the transmission and everything related to the hydraulics of the 2022 car.
From being in the fight for positions just behind the podium, to winning just two points from the Silverstone GP onwards (Monza and Mexico). With the progress of direct competitors such as Alpine and McLaren above all, the performance of Alfa Romeo – Sauber has been gradually blurred. Important reliability problems did not allow the Swiss team to keep up with the progress of the other teams, while several incorrect strategic choices and even some driver errors made things even more difficult in this second part of the 2022 Formula 1 season.
The schedule for updates was not wrong but only slow as the engineers struggled to understand the initial developments. Something that has happened to many teams: often an update, which initially seemed perfectly working, then led the team astray, especially in terms of set-up and macro characteristics of the car changed over time, leading to the need to once again understand and optimize the car.
In between there was also the lack of knowledge of this new generation of cars which various teams have assessed as still being prototypes in the central part of the season.
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After a performance loss, Alfa Romeo brought its latest update package to the track between Suzuka and Austin with an important development in the Venturi area and on the outer edge of the floor, as well as a clearly Mercedes-inspired front wing. A targeted update, which once again unlocked some potential on the C42, although it wasn’t enough to get back into the strong form seen at the start of the championship.
Indeed, with two races until the end of the season, Alfa Romeo now has to defend the sixth position in the Constructors standings from a charging Aston Martin team, which is now just 4 points away after having recovered 23 in the last four races. Last season that position was worth 84 million while the seventh position was worth 75 million. However, in this 2022 Formula 1 season the total amount that the teams will share will be bigger; sixth position could therefore be worth over 90 million dollars, with a difference of over 10 million dollars compared to the next one.
Sauber – Audi: Ferrari will be an engineer until 2025
The Sauber team has been a highly discussed topic in recent weeks since the collaboration with Audi was made official, starting in 2026. The German side, in the first instance, wanted to buy McLaren. However, the Woking team wanted to maintain their independence and the negotiations did not go through. With Williams, Audi never came to a real negotiation while with Sauber there was immediate interest on both sides to deepen the discussions.
After the sudden departure of BMW, the Swiss team has in fact risked being knocked out several times and only thanks to billionaire Tetra-Pak Rausing was it able to get out of the financial problems: “Audi is the best strategic partner for us. We share values, visions and we are already looking to the future with great confidence, hoping to be able to help them achieve their great goals! ” Finn Rausing, CEO of Sauber Holding, announced that he will keep a minority of the team while over 75% of the team will go to the German company.
The chassis and aerodynamics part of the team will remain in Hinwil while the engine will be built entirely in Neuburg, Bavaria, where, since last March, more than 120 technicians have been working on the Audi 2026 power unit.
Meanwhile, Sauber will continue to use Ferrari power units up to and including the 2025 Formula 1 season; in fact, there is no plan to change the agreements which was made prior to the acquisition deal with Audi, also because, with this new generation of cars, the change of power units is even more complicated than the previous ones. While the title sponsor, Alfa Romeo, will leave at the end of next season, as previously agreed: “The partnership we had with Sauber has been of quality and we have exploited it very well on the market during the recovery period of our brand.” – said the CEO of Stellantis Tavares – “Today Alfa Romeo is in full growth, with a very profitable brand. We will not stay in Formula 1 as we prefer to allocate the enormous amount of resources required by the top category of motorsport to other areas.”
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