November 16th, 2022

It’s been quite the season

Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN prepares to close the 2022 season with the final race of the Formula One World Championship, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The team heads to the Yas Marina circuit in sixth place in the constructors’ championship, five points ahead of its nearest rivals and determined to close the deal and bring home this important result.

The curtain is ready to fall on this year. Abu Dhabi is ready, once more, to be the scenic setting for a season finale, its marina decked in glittering lights: and while the championships may be decided already, this race is everything but a dead rubber. The fight is on not for the crowns, but for important results in their own sake: in the team’s case, to clinch sixth place in the championship, a result that would mark a massive step forward from previous years.

22 races on, the finish line is in sight. It’s been a long season, started in the crisp winter mornings of Barcelona, on days when our world felt crumbling as the C42 was off in the worst possible way; a feeling that turned to elation in a matter of weeks, as we opened our tally with a double-points finish in Bahrain, the season opener. It’s been a season of ups and downs, dizzying the former, demoralising the latter: to its credit, the team, not even in the worst moments, ever lost sight of its targets, ever let go of its motivation, ever lost the belief in its capabilities. It’s been a season that led us to the joys of Imola, the thrill of Montreal and the excitement of Interlagos; but that asked us to suffer the heartbreaks of Baku, the feeling of lost opportunities in Austin, and that opening lap in Silverstone.

The team approaches the final race with a clear sense and understanding of what has been, what needs to be done and what this will mean for the future. Clear minds in somewhat tired bodies. It’s been a long season, one that subjected us to heat, cold, sun and rain; one that led us from deserts to bustling cityscapes, new venues and classic tracks, sumptuous or bare-bones settings for our racing. Our crew shouldered it all in good spirits, relying on each other as the on-the-road family we are: we gained new friends, lost some who moved on, built on our sense of a common, shared experience to overcome this challenge and push for more. It’s been a season that asked everything to the staff back in Hinwil, working around the clock to support those giving it all around the world. It’s been a season to feel grateful for the support we have – from our colleagues, our friends, our families and our fans, who have made us feel proud like never before.

It’s been a long season at home and on the road, sustenance coming from bleary eyed takeaways in the Ops Room back at base, late night shopping mall sushi, steaming Baku casserole stews and endless Texan barbecues; one powered by countless cups of coffee and our incredible catering staff – the guys and girls that kept us going.

It’s been a fun season, a hard season, a learning season: and now it’s coming to an end. In the venue where the biggest prize of all was so controversially contested last year, we now line up to fight not for a lesser prize, but for one that means the world to us. The finish line is in sight: the objective of a season is in front of us – gleaming, bejewelled, within reach, but still requiring one last effort to grasp it.

It’s been a long season; it’s been quite the season. Let’s finish it the way it deserves to be done.