The Enstone-based team has had a headache in recent weeks after learning that Fernando Alonso switched to Aston Martin for 2023 and that reserve Oscar Piastri had signed for McLaren.
Due to their shocking departure, Alpine is looking for a new teammate for Esteban Ocon, with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly still a firm favorite if a deal can be arranged with his current Red Bull bosses.
While the Alpine drivers’ shenanigans have made headlines this past summer and received a lot of attention from CEO Laurent Rossi and team principal Otmar Szafnauer, the impact on the track has not been felt at all.
And that’s why Rossi is confident that a goal he set at the beginning of last year – to fight Alpine at the front within 100 races – remains completely in place and does not need to change.
“For the time being, it has not derailed because we are staying on course [until the end of the year] with Fernando, so that’s fine,” Rossi explained.
“I would say normally we should be able to absorb that bump in the road because at this stage the car is the most important.
“Imagine if you put Max Verstappen in the 18th or 19th position car, I doubt he will do better than maybe three positions extra. And vice versa: if you take a driver in that car and put them in the Red Bull “I’m pretty sure they can get a podium and win. So the car is still the biggest driver of performance at the moment. We’re delivering on that.”
Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522
Photo by: Alessio Morgese
Alpine is currently fourth in the Constructors’ Championship and will introduce a new floor at the Singapore Grand Prix that sporting director Alan Permane says should deliver a “huge” step forward in performance.
It is Alpine’s progress on the track that makes Rossi so confident it can achieve its goals.
“We are making the right changes, the team is focused and the plan is clear,” he said. “We are also strengthening it. So this will always be the most important thing: that the car has to perform.
“The driver gets you two or three tenths extra, which can be super important in races, but the gap between third and fourth is much more than what the driver could achieve.
“So for now we still have to deliver the car, and the good news is that we seem to have a good concept that is healthy in terms of upgrades that constantly improve performance.”