The Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team has launched its own docuseries.
On Thursday, the first episode went live on YouTube, and it’s a worthwhile 8:47.00 of any F1 fan’s time.
Titled “Beyond the Visible,” the five-episode series will provide a behind the scenes look at the team throughout the 2022 F1 season, according to an Alfa press release. So it’s kind of a compressed version of Netflix’s “Drive to Survive,” focusing specifically on Alfa.
The first episode, called “Before We Hit the Ground,” is introductory, explaining the structure of team. The Alfa F1 team is actually the Swiss Sauber team, but it’s used Alfa branding since 2015, dropping Sauber from its official name in 2018. Part of that arrangement is a close relationship with Ferrari, which has seen Alfa field Ferrari-associated drivers and use the Scuderia’s power units.
“They (Sauber) are leaders in engineering, in aerodynamics, and design. Sauber is building the car,” Alejandro Mesonaro, Chief Designer for Alfa Romeo, says in the video. “But at Centro Stile (the location of Alfa’s headquarters) we bring this legendary brand to life. We design a livery that meets and the legacy that embodies the passion of Alfa Romeo. Our style meets their engineering and the result is always beyond.”
The video details that 500 people work on a team, and they are backed by an automotive brand. A new car is built every year, and the process starts in the wind tunnel. The aero team works with race engineering and vehicle dynamics to get the most out of a car. The drivers use a simulator at the factory to learn the help develop the car and learn the racetracks. The team is always developing the car, and if they stand still, they fall behind, says Axel Kruse, CEO of Sauber Technologies and operations director of Sauber Motorsport.
The deal between Alfa and Sauber will come to an end after the 2023 season, however. Alfa announced this just hours after Audi said it plans to enter F1 in 2026, feeding speculation that the German manufacturer will partner with the Swiss squad.
Alfa does have a long history in Grand Prix racing, stretching back to the prewar years before the current F1 championship existed. Nino Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio won the first two F1 driver championships driving Alfas, in 1950 and 1951, respectively. Alfa returned to F1 in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but with lackluster results.
The current Alfa Romeo F1 driver lineup consists of rookie Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese driver in F1, and Valtteri Bottas, who left the Mercedes-AMG team after the 2021 season, making way for George Russell. The team currently sits sixth in the constructor standings with 51 points. Bottas is 10th in the driver standings with 46 points, while Zhou is 17th with five points.
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