Alfa Romeo drivers Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu will run the same car set-up from Friday through to Sunday at this weekend’s British Grand Prix.
Bottas and Zhou have managed nine points finishes between them in the opening nine rounds of the season, with both cars ended the Canadian Grand Prix in the top 10 for only the second time this season.
The Finn and the 23-year-old have suffered a few reliability issues this year, with Bottas missing his share of practice sessions and Zhou retiring from the Spanish and Azerbaijan Grand Prix with reliability failures.
One of the issues for the Swiss side has been that they are turning up to Friday practice with old parts on the car before throwing new parts onto it and, when running is limited by failures during practice, it becomes more difficult to adjust and adapt to the changes.
Now though, the team will show up to the next few rounds with updated parts on the car for the whole weekend.
“On Fridays we still have some problems with reliability, and it is something we are working to get better,” explained trackside engineer Xevi Pujolar..
“But also in terms of performance on Friday, we have been running older packages on Friday.
“From the next race, we’ll be in a position to run the same package for the entire weekend, so then everything will be easier.”
As a result of the improvements, Bottas and Zhou should be able to get more track time out of the car over the course of the entire weekend, hopefully leading to even better results.
“We had some incidents at the beginning of the season” added Pujolar.
“Then you just have to catch up with all the production of spare parts from the packages we’re running, and in parallel having the production of the new packages, which is something that has been the limitation.
“Now, from Silverstone onwards, we are already in a good position.
“We were also taking a bit of margin. Tracks like Baku, also Montreal and Monaco, when you are close to the walls, we wanted to make sure that if we have some damage on Friday, we don’t want to pay consequences later on.
“But now it will be better for the next few races at least.”
Alfa Romeo are chasing the 27th podium under the Italian motoring name, while the Sauber group are hunting their 11th.
Bottas has achieved a best finish of fifth this year, but has once or twice found himself in a distant conversation for a rostrum appearance.
With Zhou now starting to find his feet following an impressive last two rounds in Baku and calendar, Pujolar is optimistic that the team can start challenging Alpine and McLaren for best of the rest more frequently.
“I think we can expect to be fighting at the top of the midfield, but we need to see,” he stated.
“I don’t know if some teams will bring some [upgrade] packages to Silverstone, but so far I would say that we’ve been pretty consistent at all the tracks – so different types of tracks and different types of aero efficiency as well.
“For the next couple of races, we expect to be fighting at the top of the midfield with Alpine and McLaren, and see if we can get some more points, and double points. That’s our target.
“We are in a position that we want to be in Q3 with both cars, and if that’s the way, then we can fight solid races against Alpine first.”
Alfa Romeo are currently sixth in the Constructors’ Standings, six points behind fifth-placed Alpine.