Ferrari-powered cars will race with a new clutch system from this weekend’s French Grand Prix in an effort to improve start performance off the grid.
Alfa Romeo – one of two customer teams on the grid to run Ferrari power units in addition to the works team – have struggled with race start performance since the beginning of the 2022 season compared to their rivals in the midfield.
Ahead of this weekend’s French Grand Prix, Bottas revealed that Ferrari had provided them with a new clutch to address the problems that have affected their ability to get off the line effectively.
“We have a new clutch here, finally,” said Bottas.
“We will try it in the practice for the first time. This is something that Ferrari has been working on for quite some time. Now, finally, we have some new bits for the clutch that should prevent the oscillations we’re having.”
Asked how much their power unit provider’s clutch problems had affected them during the first half of the season, Bottas admitted it had been “quite a big compromise”.
“We’ve tended to lose positions, on average, at the start and that’s not great because the midfield is so tight that once you drop behind somebody, then you’re stuck for like 20 laps,” he explained. “It doesn’t make your life easier. So hopefully [now] it’s okay.”
Ferrari’s own performance off the line has also been restricted so far in 2022, conceded driver Carlos Sainz Jnr.
“We’ve identified an issue on our car here that is not allowing us to perform the starts that we were doing last year and probably is affecting our fellow engine team mates,” Sainz said. “But we know where the problem lies.
“We’re keeping it very private and we don’t speak a lot about it because it’s not like in every start we are falling back or anything, but it’s probably not the best starts that we can get with this car. Hopefully we will keep improving it through the year and into next year.”
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