Alfa Romeo has reportedly developed their own gearbox and suspension for the 2022 F1 season, further reducing their dependence on Ferrari. According to a report by Motorsport Italia, the team’s decision was reportedly influenced by their differing aero philosophy compared to the Scuderia. The Swiss’s 2022 car is reportedly incompatible with the Ferrari-designed suspension due to their differing design choices.
The report comes as a surprise considering the Swiss team’s relationship with Ferrari in recent years. Since taking charge of the team in 2017, team principal Fred Vasseur had strived to develop closer ties with Maranello – technical and beyond.
Since 2018, the Scuderia has been supplying the Hinwil-based outfit with its latest spec power unit, along with a limited number of non-listed parts including rear suspension and gearbox. At the time, Alfa Romeo considered the approach to be the fastest way to improve their on-track performances.
Speaking in a 2017 interview with Autosport after the deal’s confirmation, Vasseur had said:
“It would be a huge support to Sauber to have this kind of partnership with Ferrari. It’s a good way to improve quickly and come back onto the pace and catch the midfield and then we can see what will be the next step.”
Furthermore, Sauber-Alfa Romeo allowed Ferrari to place one of their junior drivers with the team. Since 2018, Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi, both part of the Ferrari driver academy, have occupied the second Alfa Romeo seat.
For the first time in nearly four years, however, the Hinwil squad won’t be running a Ferrari junior in 2022. The team chose to sign Alpine-Renault junior Guanyu Zhou alongside former Mercedes driver Valtteri Botts for the upcoming season.
Alfa Romeo expecting Valtteri Bottas to be “strong pillar” of support in 2022
Alfa Romeo team principal Fred Vasseur believes Valtteri Bottas, who is set to join the squad from the upcoming season onwards, will bring “positive energy” with him. Vasseur also expects the Finn to act as a “strong pillar” – guiding and supporting the team through the new era.
Speaking in a post-season interview with Crash.net, Vasseur said:
“I know that for him it’s a new chapter of his career and he takes the fact he will be key to the system as a new opportunity. I think he was, and it’s quite natural when you are the teammate of Lewis, you are a little bit in the shadow of your teammate, and with us, it will be a strong pillar of the performance of the development of the team. I think it was also for him an important step and I’m really convinced that he will achieve in this position.”
The Finn is hopeful of new regulations in 2022 and expects the Swiss team to be more competitive than in previous seasons.