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Bahrain GP: Preview – Alfa Romeo

While the Bahrain Grand Prix is a night race, for Alfa Romeo this week feels like the birth of a new day.

Alfa Romeo is ready for a new season, as the 2023 Formula One World Championship begins at the Bahrain International Circuit this weekend. After a wait of more than three months, it’s time for the action to start again: and while that taking place in Sakhir is a night race, this week feels like the birth of a new day.

Mornings have a special quality: they enclose the full potential of a day. Tiptoeing, barefoot, around a silent house, as if the furniture and the appliances were themselves asleep, the hushed quiet fills the air; outside, dewdrops make the grass glisten as the world awakens, but within the home it feels like time is standing still. A cup of coffee warms both body and soul, the cheerful sizzling of pancakes on a griddle is the soundtrack of great things to come. It’s there, in that precise moment, that the morning holds its greatness: it’s then, when one feels everything can happen and no target is unattainable, that the idyll of a new day is at its greatest and its brightest.

Not unlike this new dawn, is the start of a new championship. For a few days still, until the cars and the drivers throw themselves into the frenzied madness of the first qualifying session of the year, the magic still stands. It’s the magic of not knowing yet; of thinking, of hoping, of dreaming even. It’s that time when everyone still believes: it’s like that morning feeling of endless potential.

This sensation will not last long. Like those mornings, this feeling of potential is a fleeting one, one that quickly gives way to reality. The heady days of testing are gone, with their back-to-school feeling, the reacquainting with old faces, the sneaky – or not-so-sneaky – looks at those who wear different shirts from the previous year. Now, this is when it really matters: this is when points are at stake, when all the planning and preparation and the hours, weeks and months of work of everyone back at the factory come into play. It’s when you find out, finally, where you stand compared to your rivals.

But not just yet. For a few days still, we enjoy that quiet confidence that a new season, like a new day, offers. The house will soon stir and wake up, and the everyday bustle will take over. And then it’ll be up to us to turn that feeling into a reality.

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative: “Putting pre-season testing behind us, it is finally time to go racing again. We have been working hard over the winter, going the extra mile to get ready and set up, and everyone both here and back at home in Hinwil can be proud of that. We are ready and motivated for the new season: we did a good job in testing, and we are now looking forward to the challenges ahead. Much like all the other teams, we are of course eager to get started and see where everyone else is standing; it is of course early to set targets for the new season, but our goal is to keep on growing and developing as a team. Entering their second year as teammates, our drivers form a strong, diverse line-up, and we are delighted to be continuing working with them.”

Valtteri Bottas: “It’s been an interesting first year with the team, we have become stronger over the course of the season, and we made some solid progress together. Now, the direction to follow is only one: up, higher, and better. I think these first few days will help us getting a proper idea of where we are standing com-pared to the other teams and see who our direct competitors will be. Once again, a long season is ahead of us: I am very motivated to get back on track and eager to score good results, both for us here in Bahrain and for the home team in Hinwil: their effort is essential to get the cars on track. We know we have it in us to do well, and we must stay focused to unlock the full potential of the C43. Let’s go racing!”

Zhou Guanyu: “Just like that, we are at the dawn of a new season. I learned a lot during my rookie year, and I will take all the experience with me into 2023, to improve even further. We achieved good things together as a team, and of course the expectation for the season is definitely higher. I feel much more at ease compared to a year ago, at the verge of my debut – and I am ready to turn this to my advantage. Now, I feel ready to face all the on-track challenges again. There’s still a lot to learn and to be achieved, and I’m excited to see what’s coming for us as a team: I am very much looking forward to it.”

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