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Abu Dhabi, 25 November 2023 – Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake couldn’t replicate its practice pace in Qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In the final grid-setting session of the season, Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu set the 18th and 19th fastest times: these positions won’t make for an easy race tomorrow, but the team will aim to recover ground as the lights go out for one final time in 2023.

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative: “We cannot deny that this has been a very disappointing qualifying session. We know the importance of a good starting position, especially on a track like this, so the balance for us, tonight, is very negative. We had a good FP3 earlier today, and both drivers confirmed they felt comfortable with both the setup and balance of the car, so we need to analyse what happened in qualifying and why we weren’t even able to enter Q2. Zhou was matching Tsunoda up to turn six, when he locked both axles and lost six tenths. His lap was gone then, no chance to recover. Valtteri felt comfortable with the car and his lap was clean, but he just didn’t have enough pace. We are still missing something in qualifying: we do need to understand how to extract performance from our car in these conditions. Tomorrow will be a challenge, starting from the back: we will give everything, but we will need exceptional circumstances to score points.”

Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake C43 (Chassis 02/Ferrari)
FP3: 16th / 1:25.420 (16 laps)
Q1: 18th / 1:24.788 (6 laps)

“Today’s results are definitely disappointing, as up until the final practice session it looked like we had a chance to progress all the way through qualifying. In terms of feeling, we had actually made an improvement from yesterday, and our laps were decent. Unfortunately, I think there wasn’t much more we could have brought out in terms of pace today. We’ll be looking into the causes of this result overnight, to see what can be done to improve. Tomorrow will be a difficult one, starting from the last rows; hopefully, a clean start and some unexpected circumstances, like a Safety Car, can help us play our cards in the best way. It’s the final race of the season, and we still want to wrap our year up in a decent way: we’ll be giving it all out until the final corner of the final lap to achieve that.”

Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake C43 (Chassis 01/Ferrari)
FP3: 10th / 1:25.258 (23 laps)
Q1: 19th / 1:25.159 (6 laps)

“Before this session, our performance looked very promising, so we need to understand why we went backwards: everything felt different tonight, and it was a struggle to get the tyres working. I did a mistake in turn six, locked up both axles, and after that it was very difficult to recover: even without mistakes, though, I don’t think we would have had the pace to come through to Q2. We can expect similar conditions tomorrow, and we need to see what we can change to make it better: it’s the last race of the season, and we will give everything to make up some ground.”