Alpine, between hope and disappointment

After an end to the 2020 season marked by the podiums of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon, the French team is struggling to get the machine going this year. As the 7th round of the 2021 campaign looms at Castellet, where are the Blues?

Published on 18/06/2021 à 18:18

Gonzalo Forbes

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Alpine, between hope and disappointment

Alpine still looking for his bearings. ©DPPI/A. Vincent

With three podiums in the second half of the season in 2020 and a 5th place in the Manufacturers' standings, Alpine (Renault until last December) could foresee a successful 2021 campaign before the famous revolution of the year 2022.

By focusing on continuity with Esteban Ocon and the return home of the child prodigy Fernando Alonso, hope reigned aboveenstone before this new season. Alas, after six races and with the approach of the French Grand Prix, the results are not up to those hoped for by the management of A fléché before the first round in Bahrain on March 28. Alpine is in fact in 7th place in the Manufacturers ranking only ahead Williams, Haas et Alfa Romeo who between them have two points in six starts.

« It's a mixed result, recognized the executive director of the national team, Marcin Budkowski, after the Monaco Grand Prix, 5th meeting of the season (May 23). We are not where we would like to be in relation to last year's performance and ambitions. there are also positives because we recovered well by improving the car in each race and the results were visible ».

The ambitions were great, the results were much less so. Sometimes performing well in qualifying, as evidenced by Esteban Ocon's 6th and 5th positions in Portugal and then in Spain, the A521 suffered the blow in the race.

Their pace less good over the long term, the two drivers of the French team suffered more during certain events such as in Bahrain, in Spain or in Monaco where they somehow reached the finish line for 4 points in the total only.

These difficulties are explained in particular by a poor adaptation of the A521 to the new regulation changes for the 2021 season (modification of the chassis, shorter wheelbase, reduced aerodynamic downforce, etc.). Although light, these seem to have disrupted the design plans ofAlpine. If it is similar to the RS20 of 2020, the new car of the French structure is not yet performing well and concern has spread to the ranks of Viry-Châtillon and Enstone.

« At the moment we are not where we want to be », even admitted Laurent Red, general manager ofAlpine, who did not expect to have such a complicated start at the head of the team.

If the time is not for joy, Alpine However, do not lose hope for the rest of the season. With the French Grand Prix and the reunion with a more “ traditional » as the experts say, the A arrow hopes to reverse the trend and move forward towards its main quest: the Top 5 at the end of the year.

« No (we are not yet looking at 2022)! We want to constantly beat our opponents, continues Laurent Rossi. The idea is to finish the season in at least 5th place. We find traditional circuits after urban races in Monaco and Baku where we were not really in good shape. We hope that this track will put us back on track as was the case in Portimão where we performed well. (Ocon 7th and Alonso 8th).”

With the France-Austria (twice)-England sequence, Alpine intends to raise the bar. Otherwise, the team could almost definitively draw a line under its early season objective and already turn towards 2022.

Gonzalo Forbes

In charge of promotion formulas (F2, F3, FRECA, F4...). Carried by the grace of Franco Colapinto.

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