Valtteri Bottas has been left questioning why his car felt “fundamentally wrong” in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The Finn ended the race outside of the points in P11 after struggling for pace, and was surprised that the Williams cars – which are usually slower than Alfa Romeo – appeared to be quicker than them.
When asked what the cause of the problems was, Bottas told media, including RacingNews365.com: “I wish I knew. It almost feels like something’s fundamentally wrong, because we were so off the expected lap times and pace.
“Even Williams were faster than us at the end of the race, which is not where our car should be.
“One big thing from Friday to Saturday, it just felt like we lost rear end, which is a bit strange because with the parts that were changed, it should have been increasing the rear end.
“We need to find out what’s gone wrong.”
Bottas had “no chance” of matching Zhou’s times
Bottas does not feel that the issue is related to ride height problems.
“I don’t think so, because it’s like the same package we had in Barcelona,” he explained.
“We’ve been able to run the car as low as we want here, so I don’t know. I don’t have answers at the moment.
“It’s something we need to figure out before Montreal [the Canadian Grand Prix], because clearly we’re lacking pace.”
Such were Bottas’ pace issues that he was unable to match the times of teammate Zhou Guanyu.
“I had no chance to match Zhou’s lap times today,” Bottas said.
“He was in another league, like almost one second faster, which for me is quite strange.”
Can the problems be fixed before Canada?
With only a few days until the Canadian Grand Prix weekend gets underway on 17-19 June, Bottas admits that the most pressing matter for the team now is to fix the issues quickly.
“That’s the priority now,” he acknowledged.
“It’s not many days until we’re back on track, and we only have x amount of parts in the car. I hope we can find something.”
Ultimately, Bottas reflected: “I think, the fact is, we were just way off the pace.”
The Finn added that he feels the problems could potentially have been caused by alterations to the package.
“We changed from the old package to the new package for Saturday,” he said.
“Since then, the issue started with the behaviour of the car.”
Alfa Romeo admit “question marks” over Bottas’ car
Xevi Pujolar, Head of Trackside Engineering at Alfa Romeo, backed Bottas’ calls for the team to resolve the issue in time for F1’s visit to Canada.
“Since [Saturday], we started to have some question marks on Valtteri’s car,” Pujolar revealed.
“[On Sunday] it was clear, from our side now, that something is wrong, and we need to understand what it is. At the moment, we don’t know what has gone wrong with that car.
“But we can see on the balance, we can see [in] his feedback that something is not right, but we don’t know what is causing this issue at the moment.
“We’ll take some actions just to make sure that, in Montreal, we can clear that, but it has been quite difficult for him in the race, just from the problem we have in the car.
“Normally we run both cars [with] pretty much the same configuration, and on that car, there is clearly something not right.”