Alfa Romeo Trackside Engineer Xevi Pujolar has tipped the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix to start an "interesting" new chapter in the 2022 F1 season.
After three races, it is Ferrari and Charles Leclerc leading the way, with Red Bull and Mercedes nursing problems.
Ferrari-powered Haas and Alfa Romeo have made significant steps forward since 2021, while former midfield runners Aston Martin find themselves toiling away at the back.
But F1's first European round of the season will kick-start the development race amongst teams, Pujolar says, and Alfa Romeo plan to get in on the action.
Imola will start F1's upgrade race
All eyes will be on upgrades as the teams assemble their cars in Imola, with some outfits, including Alpine and AlphaTauri, having already suggested that they will bring new parts to Italy.
The same will be true for Alfa Romeo, with the squad keen to see their impressive start to the season go from strength to strength.
"I think from Imola onwards, we will start to see a competition to see who's bringing more parts," Pujolar said, speaking to members of the media, including RacingNews365.com.
"I think we will try to, for sure, participate in this competition. I think that the next few races will be quite interesting, to see how people are developing.
"On that one, we are looking forward. We want to close the gap with the guys ahead and leave the ones behind far behind."
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Alfa Romeo hope to have both cars fighting for points
Alfa Romeo have already climbed the pecking order considerably since last season and are looking to go even further after an impressive start to F1's new era.
The team's confidence has been boosted by encouraging race pace that has helped Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu make progress from their qualifying positions.
And with Imola laying claim to the first Sprint event of 2022, Alfa Romeo see the upcoming race weekend as a golden chance to score big points.
"The Sprint quali format, if anything, will be good for us. We'll have to see all the updates and everything that people will bring to Imola, but we hope to have both cars fighting for the points," Pujolar continued.
"Obviously, you can see that, for Zhou, this type of format is even better as well, because it's giving him a chance. I think he's a very good racer, so in the Sprint he can gain some further positions."
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