Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

“It’s not a midfield any more, it’s a field” – Alpine

2021 F1 season

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The Formula 1 field has closed up during the off-season, Alpine’s executive director Marcin Budkowski believes.

Based on the three days of pre-season testing, Budkowski suspects the competition will be even closer in 2021. However he admitted it is difficult to form a clear impression based on pre-season testing.

“We are doing as we speak, quicker runs, shorter qualifying-type runs, so we might [get] a slightly better idea,” he said during this evening’s running at the Bahrain International Circuit.

“But it’s tricky, it’s a tough one to call, really. Our strategists back at base are busy trying to interpolate the fuel loads and the tyres et cetera to try and understand where we are because we’re very curious.”

The team, previously known as Renault, finished in the midst of a closely-fought contest for third place in the constructors championship last year. Five teams from third to seventh were covered by just 95 points. Alfa Romeo, Haas and Williams were further behind, scraping together a handful of points finishes between them.

Budkowski expects closer competition throughout the field this year. “I think it’s not a midfield any more, it’s a field, really,” he said.

“We still expect Mercedes at the front. Clearly they had a few issues and they were probably sandbagging a little bit at the beginning of the test. We still expect Red Bull to be strong.

“But behind them it’s a field, really, and where we are in this field is difficult to say. I expect it to be competitive. McLaren seem good, seem quick. Aston Martin, when they actually run, seem pretty quick. The rest I don’t know, really.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 9 comments on ““It’s not a midfield any more, it’s a field” – Alpine”

    1. So when he states that still Red Bull and Merc are still ahead and that “behind them it’s a field”, he’s only thinking there are no back markers?

      Does he seriously think that Williams, Haas and Alfa Romeo are not “behind the field”? Even though those three have been consistently and significantly slower.

      1. @f1osaurus
        Alfa Romeo are definitely part of the ‘field’ now. There long runs today looked very promising. This afternoon Kimi and Fernando did comparable runs on high fuel, during their first stint on the C4 tyre they were equally fast for the first part of the stint and Kimi even faster than the Alpine in the 2nd half.
        Alfa Romeo seem to have a pretty competitive package and a car that’s easy on its tyres.

        1. @srga91 Well I guess it’s hard to say where everybody is exactly, but looking at the times over the 3 days I feel Alfa is still behind. Will see when the season really starts I guess.

          Still the point is, he says there is only a “field”, then declares the front runners and even without Alfa, Haas and Williams are still clearly behind. So I don’t see what sense this claim of the being a “field” makes any sense.

          1. Looking at what times? He was doing long runs that were on par with Fernando’s?

      2. With Merc and RBR ahead and Williams and Haas behind I guess you best describe the field in between as ‘midfield’.

        It’s as accurate as, but a lot shorter than: ‘not-front-runners-and-also-not-back-markers’.

    2. Tricky pre-season, small changes and some legality woes, that said I reckon the field is very similar to the end of last season, just a tad tighter.

    3. +1 Very good for F1.

    4. There is a “field” among the cars that are 5th to 16th fastest or so, or a “midfield” as it is otherwise known.

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