Alonso: Alpine F1 in better shape than this time last year

Alonso: Alpine F1 in better shape than this time last year

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Alpine finished fifth in last year’s constructors’ championship courtesy of Esteban Ocon’s shock win in Hungary and an Alonso podium in Qatar, two standouts results which pulled it over the line in the fight against AlphaTauri.

The former Renault team has resumed its ongoing management reshuffle, with executive director Marcin Budkowski and advisor Alain Prost both leaving ahead of the 2022 season, while former Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer has been tipped to join the Enstone team in a similar role.

While Alpine went through an inconsistent 2021 season, the team is confident it has strengthened its trackside operations, CEO Laurent Rossi stating the team’s gradual improvement behind the scenes was just as important as Ocon’s win in Budapest.

Alonso agreed that Alpine is “in better shape now” than at the start of last season.

“We are still not on top of all the problems, but everyone will have a different opinion,” the Spaniard said.

“Obviously with experience working for different teams, I could see some things that we were weak, other areas we were very strong. You try always to make the team stronger and stronger, and more prepared into 2022.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A521

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A521

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

“I think we are in better shape now than what we were in March, in Bahrain, but still a few things I’m sure that we’ll have to fix.

“I think we need for sure to close the gap on the engine, that’s why there is this new project, and also we need to close the gap on the aero performance.

“It’s difficult to know what is the gap, so at the moment there are only hopes but I understand that these hopes are for everybody. It’s not only to us, and it’s a completely unknown territory what we will find [this] year.”

Alonso said he believes Alpine now has the right resources to cut whatever gap remains to the leading teams, admitting Alpine will no longer have the excuse of operating to a smaller budget compared to F1’s biggest spenders Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari as the sport’s budget cap falls from $145m to $140m in 2022.

“I’m optimistic we have the right resources, we have the commitment from Luca de Meo, from Laurent Rossi, all our management they are committed to Formula 1,” he added.

“The budget cap should help because there is no unlimited budget for the top teams. Now it’s more or less the same budget for everybody and it’s up to us to do a good car. If we don’t do it, we will learn from our mistakes.

“But there are no more ‘we have less budget’ or ‘we have less resources’ or ‘they are using two wind tunnels’. There are not any more of those things. So, it’s up to us.”

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