Two big questions for Alfa Romeo ahead of the 2022 season: will Hinwil see a renaissance with new blood? – After world

With Valtteri Bottas, a ten-time Grand Prix winner, and Zhou Guanyu, the first-ever Chinese full-time F1 driver, Alfa Romeo are hoping to bounce back from a 2021 season in which they finished ninth overall. Here are two relevant questions for the Hinwil-headquartered team.

READ MORE: Two Big Questions – Back to midfield for Haas?

Will Bottas’ arrival reignite Alfa Romeo’s mojo?

Winds of change have swept through the team once known as Sauber: The Alfa Romeo F1 Team (as it’s now officially known after dropping the ‘racing’ part of its name) has Bottas on its books for 2022.

The Finn, who has raced alongside Lewis Hamilton for the past five seasons and helped Mercedes win as many Constructors’ Championships, brings a wealth of experience fighting at the front.

READ MORE: 8 reasons the pecking order could be shaken in 2022

This is a long-term project for the 32-year-old – who signed a multi-year deal where he previously only had one-year contract extensions at Mercedes – who wants to see his new team work their way back into midfield struggles and take the reins in the new one Formula 1 era. It’s fast, it’s proven and, as team boss Frederic Vasseur claimed, it’s a “huge fortune” for Alfa Romeo.

While leaving behind a team used to winning titles, Bottas will do so a plethora of responsibilities with Alfa Romeo. Above all, they want him to lead the team into the new era and beyond, and as one of the most experienced winners in the field, Bottas is definitely capable of that.

The chance to be Alfa Romeo’s talisman after five years fighting for the limelight at Mercedes against Hamilton could allow the Finn to thrive.

How will the only Rookie of 2022, Zhou Guanyu, fare in 2022?

Zhou Guanyu, who will make history in Bahrain as he begins his rookie season as his country’s first full-time F1 driver, also benefits from Bottas’ stellar experience this season.

It will not be easy. We’ve already seen in 2021 that the three rookies – Yuki Tsunoda, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin – had their problems. Now the latter two were in a Haas almost destined to be at the bottom of the grid, but AlphaTauris Tsunoda struggled with consistency and had his fair share of scratches throughout the season.

READ MORE: Alfa Romeo boss explains why rising F2 star Pourchaire was a ‘too risky’ prospect for the 2022 F1 seat

So it’s reasonable to expect Zhou to need some time behind the wheel. The four-time F2 race winner completed almost 270 laps at the end-of-season test in Abu Dhabi and will have to survive every minute and every lap of pre-season testing when it gets underway.

New Alfa Romeo signs Guanyu Zhou’s best moments in Formula 2

It’s a tough question, but the 22-year-old won’t be the only rider in the spotlight as others may also struggle to find their feet with their new hardware.

He also has the expertise of Vasseur – a man well versed in nurturing talent on the Formula 1 road as he formed the ART Grand Prix junior team – to lean on.

Keep an eye out for an upcoming launch date, as Alfa Romeo has yet to announce when the successor to the C41 will be revealed to the world.

DATES: The 2022 F1 calendar and F1 car launch schedule

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