Valtteri Bottas’ pre-season testing programme continues to be plagued by issues, with the Finn managing only twenty-five laps on day two of the second test at the Bahrain International Circuit on Friday.
The Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN driver has seen many of his planned sessions across both tests affected by reliability, and Friday’s running was significantly impacted by lengthy stays in the pit garage, with his run ending with a problem that left him stranded on track.
Despite the setbacks, Bottas says he has been learning more and more about the C42-Ferrari during the test days, and he hopes for a clear final day before the season starts in earnest next weekend with the Bahrain Grand Prix.
“I was able to learn a lot about the car yesterday, and the process continued today,” said Bottas. “Obviously, it’s always tricky during the morning session here, with the hot track and the strong wind, but we were able to get some tests done, even with a few technical niggles reducing our mileage.
“We continue the process of learning about the C42 and: I’m looking forward to being back in the car tomorrow for the last day of testing: we need a clean session so that we can focus on set-up work and fine-tuning our machinery ahead of the first race of the season.”
“We can be pleased as we were able to get quite a few laps in the bag” – Guanyu Zhou
Team-mate Guanyu Zhou has seemingly had the better of the reliability during the testing programme, and he was able to focus on long runs across Friday as he posted forty-eight laps.
Zhou, the only rookie on the grid in 2022 and the first full-time Chinese driver in Formula 1 history, felt the team made another step forward with the car on Friday as they work towards finding the set-up that works for both drivers.
He hopes the team allow him the chance to run on low fuel and softer tyres during the test, but for now he is happy to get the mileage on the board and aid the team in any way he can.
“It was a pretty good afternoon of work, and I was already able to feel the way the track evolved since I was in the car yesterday,” said Zhou. “Our main focus was on longer runs, in order to get an understanding of what will expect us next week, and we can be pleased as we were able to get quite a few laps in the bag, despite the many interruptions to the session.
“Of course, as a driver I want to have a proper go on the soft tyres, pushing both the car and myself to the maximum on a single lap, but this is pre-season testing and the important thing is to work on what the team needs.
“I feel we made another step forward, the car is working much better although we aren’t getting ahead of ourselves: there’s still a long way to go but we’re ready to work hard to get there.”