Alfa Romeo head of trackside engineering Xevi Pujolar has hailed the "massive" impact Valtteri Bottas has had on the atmosphere within the team since joining from Mercedes.
Bottas left the Silver Arrows at the end of last season after Mercedes elected to replace the Finn with George Russell.
Joining Alfa Romeo was widely viewed as a step down the order with the team failing to finish higher than eighth in the end-of-year standings since the introduction of the hybrid power units in 2014.
However, this has not been the case with Bottas featuring in Q3 in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and outqualifying a Mercedes driver on each occasion.
Asked about the mood change within the Alfa Romeo garage this year, Pujolar replied: “[It's] massive.
"I think the mood is really good with Valtteri but also with Zhou and having both of them working together, they push the engineers, they push the mechanics and then once everyone sees the performance on the track, I think that is giving us a lot of a boost.
“I think first we need to sort the reliability issues and some mistakes here and there but the potential is very good and we want to consolidate the same was as we did in Bahrain, we need to bounce back strong in Melbourne.”
Bottas dragging Alfa Romeo with him
After spending five years with Mercedes, Bottas has the knowledge required to help Alfa Romeo to operate at a level higher than it has in recent years.
“His performance I think is impressive but on top of that what is helping on top of the performance is the positive mood he is giving to the team and to the other driver," added Pujolar.
“He is fast and he is bringing the team with him and I think that is the key. It is not only about going fast on the track.
"There is going fast on the track but then you have also to make sure that the team is following you at the track and at the factory and the other driver [too].”
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