Alfa Romeo’s head of track engineering, Xevi Pujolar, has explained the problem that has ruined Zhou Guanyu’s hopes for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Chinese driver did a great job in qualifying, placing his C43 on the third grid – fifth fastest time, giving Zhou the best grid position of his career.
Optimism was high given the high training pace of the Hinwil team, but Zhou’s fortunes changed dramatically when he was left alone at the start.
His car went down before the start, forcing Zhou to manually pull away instead of the usual start, and his rivals attacked him at Turn 1.
Contact with Daniel Ricciardo pushed the AlphaTauri driver towards Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, a Frenchman who in a chain reaction knocked himself and teammate Pierre Gasly out of the race.
Zhou was given a five-second time penalty for his involvement in the incident, but to make matters worse for Alfa Romeo, Valtteri Bottas was held back by the drama and fell outside the top ten after a strong initial breakaway.
Describing in detail the problem that made Zhou out of luck, Pujolar told the media, including Racing News365“It looks like something with the braking strategy caused the engine to fail.
“We’re trying to understand how it started at this point. This meant we lost the breakaway to Zhou, but it also affected Valtteri who was right behind him.
“He lost his rhythm, so the conclusion was at the end of the first lap, we were 12th with Valtteri and 16th with Zhou.
“All the work we did (on Saturday) was pretty much gone and we were trying to recover from there.”