Valtteri Bottas was forced to skip the entire free practice session 2 of the Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna staged this morning at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola because his team, Alfa Romeo Racing, was intent on changing the chassis of his C42.
The former Mercedes driver suffered a broken exhaust during Q3 of qualifying yesterday afternoon, for this reason he was forced to pull over his C42 number 77 causing the fourth of the 5 red flags of the session.
Although he was unable to complete qualifying, Bottas still achieved the eighth overall time, so this afternoon he will take part in the Sprint Race starting from the fourth row of the grid.
Once the car returned to the Alfa Romeo pits, the team assessed that the damage to the wiring and other systems was so significant that they had to change the chassis, fitting the spare one.
To make everything more difficult, the Parc Fermé rule, which forced the team not to operate until this morning. The team tried to get the car ready in time for Free Practice 2, but it didn’t. Thus the Finn lost an important session in view of the Sprint Race and tomorrow’s race.
The power unit used up until yesterday was mounted on the new chassis, but the team also had to replace the gearbox: “We had an exhaust problem,” Alfa Romeo team principal Frédéric Vasseur told Motorsport.com. “We burned all the components around it, including the frame and gearbox. At that point we agreed it was easier to change the frame.”
“We expected to have to do it, but the car was in the Parc Fermé. Either the seals are broken and we start from the pit lane, or we wait for the morning to intervene and we risk not taking part in Free Practice 2. We hoped to make it, but we were too optimistic “.
“We lost Free Practice 2 and it was a shame. For sure it would have been better to take part in the session than to always stay in the pits as we did. But I trust Valtteri for the fact that his adaptation can be quite fast. Then he can take a look at Zhou’s data. He will be able to understand certain things. Yesterday he also did some laps in almost dry track conditions, I’m not worried, “concluded Vasseur.