The Sauber-run team is embroiled in a battle for eighth in the constructors’ championship after finding it hard to stay on par with its midfield rivals in 2023’s development race.
It brought a stream of upgrades to recent races, in particular Singapore and Qatar, but saw its direct rival for eighth, AlphaTauri, find much bigger gains. The Faenza squad scored 16 points over the past three race weekends to leapfrog Alfa and pull ahead by five points.
This weekend’s race on the streets of Las Vegas is seen as an opportunity to strike back, as the low temperatures and brand-new, minimal-grip tarmac is throwing teams a curveball that could shake up the order and reward those teams who get it right.
It is for that reason that Alfa Romeo is hoping for a “very difficult weekend” for the entire grid, which drivers Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu could benefit from.
“We’ve got a lot of question marks about this track,” said engineering director Xevi Pujolar.
“But with the situation that we’re in at the moment, I think we need a big challenge on the engineering side and on the driver’s side just to make sure that we’ve got an opportunity to change the championship order.
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“The higher difficulty and everything being a bit uncertain, is I think where we get a better chance.
Photo by: Erik Junius
Atmosphere Las Vegas boulevard
“We need Vegas to be a very difficult weekend for everyone and just make sure that we take advantage of it. That’s our challenge now.”
Pujolar said his Hinwil team is still keeping track of Williams in seventh, 12 points ahead, as the Grove team has also struggled in recent races, but admitted that AlphaTauri has gotten too quick for his squad.
Haas sits four points behind Alfa at the foot of the constructors’ table.
“We can still try and fight with the Williams and the Haas, but with the AlphaTauri at the moment, with the pace they showed [in Brazil], they’re too fast,” he conceded.
“If everything is easy and straightforward, then it will be very difficult for us to have any chance to recover the P8 or even consider to fight for the P7, it’s getting very complicated.”