Alfa Romeo decided to retire Valtteri Bottas’ C42 in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix race in the hopes of avoiding a late-season engine penalty.
On lap 46 of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, the Finn came into the pits to retire his Alfa Romeo, despite fighting for sixth place. The team revealed it was a cooling issue later that night, with Bottas hoping that the choice to park the car saved the engine.
“It was a good race until we saw the issue with the engine temperature, it started to go up,” Bottas said in an interview after the race.
“It was initially a small rise in the engine temp but that it was rapid and even with lift and coast and finding clean air it was going up to the point that the engine was at risk of failing,” he continued. “We retired the car to not lose the engine, that was the only option.”
The Internal Combustion Engine, turbocharger, MGU-H, and MGU-K are all limited to three this year before incurring penalties, while the Energy Store and Control Electronics are also limited to two.
“I hope so, should be good, but that’s why we stopped,” he said when asked if his Ferrari power unit would be able to go into the pool for later in the season. It would have vanished if we had gone on.”
Despite the fact that Alfa Romeo’s weekend in Saudi Arabia concluded with Guanyu Zhou in 11th place after two penalties, Bottas feels the team can take a lot of positives from it. He qualified in P8 and was fighting for sixth place when the car broke down.
“I think performance wise compared to other teams it felt quite similar to Bahrain, I think we are fighting for sixth place more or less,” Bottas said.
“It was good to see that even with this different track, more high speed, we are up there fighting. That gives me hope for the coming races and I think we are not in a bad place.”
There are, however, a few issues that the squad must address. Zhou’s anti-stalled kicked on as he touched a curb while changing gears at Turn 1 in Saudi Arabia, while Bottas had a clutch trouble off the line in Bahrain.