Valtteri Bottas has insisted he has not given up on securing victories in F1 since making his move to Alfa Romeo.
The Finn is in his second season with the Hinwil-based outfit having left Mercedes following a successful five-year stint that saw the Silver Arrows crowned Constructors' champions in each of those campaigns, during which time Bottas amassed 10 race wins.
Alfa Romeo will leave the Sauber team at the end of the season ahead of Audi's 2026 entry, with Bottas aiming to lead that effort to success.
Things 'have to change'
Alfa Romeo started F1's newest technical regulatory era strongly with Bottas often challenging Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell for position on track.
But by mid-season, the effort had died out with a lack of resource compared to rivals becoming apparent. This has spilt into the new campaign, with Bottas only securing four points to date, a tally matched by teammate Zhou Guanyu.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com, Bottas conceded: "I was definitely hoping for more until now, but that is what it is.
"It is pretty simple - other teams managed to improve a bit more than us over the winter.
"We've not been in the places we're aiming for, which was to regularly be in the points - I have only scored in one race. That has to change."
The biggest change to F1's pecking order has been Aston Martin's rise to third in the Constructors' standings, with Fernando Alonso securing five podiums in the opening seven races.
"We definitely have made improvements, but some teams have made big steps," explained Bottas.
"Aston Martin is the best example of that, they made a huge step forward, so they obviously found something and we didn't, it is as simple as that."
"It is a good example that you can make a step like that. It is not like they have crazy resources or stuff like that compared to us, so it is definitely a motivation."
The future is really exciting for this team
With Zhou only in his second year of F1, Bottas has assumed a leadership role for the first time in his career, having been kept in Hamilton's shadows at Mercedes.
"It is very different, different than at Williams, different at Mercedes and different here," said Bottas.
"But it is all very natural. With more experience and a young teammate, it is very natural how it goes.
"I am really enjoying that part of my work that is not just purely driving, it is a bit more involved in the technical stuff, which is nice."
Bottas has been forced into a mental reset given the lack of opportunity to secure podium positions, let alone victories, following his departure from the German manufacturer.
It means his championship aspirations have also fallen by the wayside, yet Bottas is "fine with it".
"Of course, I miss winning but I take this as a project and now the satisfaction comes from different things," he insisted.
"It's a long-term thing which I want to be involved in and I have not given up on winning.
"The future is really exciting for this team, there is a clear plan and you can see it in the people that they want to get involved.
"We are still with Alfa, the work hasn't really started with Audi and Sauber yet. We will see how it starts going in the next year or two."