Alfa Romeo Team Representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi has welcomed Zhou Guanyu pushing Valtteri Bottas more in 2023, having argued that a rivalry between teammates is "super important".
While Bottas claimed the team's first points of the year at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Zhou finished ahead of his teammate in Saudi Arabia and Australia, as well as scoring points himself at Albert Park.
In the qualifying battle, Zhou currently has the slight edge at 2-1, and Alunni Bravi is pleased to see the progess that the Chinese driver has made following his rookie season in 2022.
Alfa Romeo praise Zhou's development
"He did a step last year, and he did another step this year," Alunni Bravi told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"What for me is impressive from him is the mindset, his approach. He doesn't do any mistakes, so far he has been really good in this [respect]. He has a good technical understanding of the car.
"Each year you need to improve. To judge a driver, you need to understand which phase of his learning curve [he is at, whether he] already reached the peak or if he is still improving.
"For me, he has been impressive from the very first race. We have two good drivers, so there is no number one or number two driver. They are two drivers that are pushing each other, depending on the track conditions, depending on different circumstances.
"But it's a very, very good level. We are happy about Valtteri. Valtteri is doing a very good job. We need just to give them a [good] performing car. It is up to us."
Viewed by others:
Teammate rivalry 'important'
With Zhou's progress, Alunni Bravi feels it is a positive for the team if the two drivers can push each other.
"Drivers are all the same – you always need someone to push [you]," he explained.
"It's not a matter of experience, it's that this rivalry with your teammate is super important. And if you have two drivers that are pushing each other, this is good for the team because you can push faster the development.
"It is important that they work together with a good team spirit, and this is what we have. We are super happy that we can have two drivers [at the] same level, working, pushing each other.
"Also, you need two drivers able to fight for the points always, because the fight is so tight.
"All the teams have two strong drivers, so in order to fight for the Constructors' Championship position, you need to have two cars at the same level constantly there, able to take the opportunities when it counts.
"You can take the first eight positions [out of the equation in the midfield battle]; you have five teams fighting for two places in the top 10. This will be until the very last lap of the last race."
Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the last week in F1.