The 2023 season was supposed to be a year of promise for Alfa Romeo, but instead it fell by the wayside again and was often found picking up the scraps.
The team retained the duo of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu in favour of bringing in another talent, arguably a good decision as it looked to minimise crash damage and focus resources on car development as opposed to getting another rookie up to speed following Zhou's campaign in 2022.
Alfa Romeo did quietly introduce updates to its car, notably at the British Grand Prix where there were updates made to the floor, diffuser and rear suspension. But it struggled to replicate the big steps made by others to achieve regular points finishes.
Bottas made it clear that he wanted to see the team pick up the pace, admitting that he could see them slipping behind rivals. Midway through the season it only managed to score points on four occasions, and was overhauled by AlphaTauri in the closing stages of the season.
The Red Bull sister team managed to get ahead after the Mexican Grand Prix, ultimately going on to challenge Williams for seventh in the final race. Alfa Romeo was stuck down in ninth on only 16 points, with its worst race coming at Brazil when both drivers retired with issues.
Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu
Looking at their stats throughout the year, it's clear that Bottas was the team leader, having secured 10 points to Zhou's six.
Although it was not the easiest season for the Finn, he still managed to generate some attention with his off-track antics, whether it was posing for a nude calendar or turning up to a race with a mullet.
In qualifying Bottas managed to beat Zhou 16-6 throughout the season, which is a slight improvement for the Finn after beating Zhou 14-8 last year.
The best race for Bottas was the Qatar Grand Prix, where he matched his season best of eighth from the Bahrain GP earlier in the year, but was dealt an awful amount of bad luck, such as in Saudi Arabia when he collected debris from the two McLarens making contact on the opening lap that ruined his race.
For Zhou, he did not manage to finish higher than ninth all season, achieving it on three separate occasions in Australia, Spain and Qatar. His best performance came at Barcelona, where he probably would have finished higher if it was not for a collision with Yuki Tsunoda.
Things look better for 2024?
One of the key signings made by Alfa Romeo was that of former McLaren man James Key to their technical team.
Team Representative, Alessandro Alunni Bravi, confirmed they will be using the winter to review their car project completely, as they search for the missing performance preventing them from finishing more regularly in the points.
"First of all, we are really happy about having James on board. He started the first week of September, so he’s also contributing to next year’s car, to our C44 car," Bravi explained to media including RacingNews365.
"We reviewed completely the project, together with him, thanks to his experience we went through an in-depth analysis of all the areas of the car, making decisions.
"The car next year will not be an evolution of this year’s car, because we think that there are some limits in this concept that we cannot exploit further.
"We will have a completely new car from chassis to suspension, everything, all the areas. Of course, it’s easy to identify the problems, but then you need to be able to fix it. We are working hard, the group is growing.
"We have new appointments that are joining, and that will be able to contribute also to next year’s car but the answer will be given to all of us next year in Bahrain."