Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Alonso keen for Alpine upgrades at Imola

2021 F1 Season

Posted on

| Written by

Alpine are bringing an aerodynamic upgrade package and new testing elements to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to address their deficit to the midfield.

Substantial updates were made to Imola since its final outing as the San Marino Grand Prix venue, in 2006, where Fernando Alonso came second while driving for Renault.

Alonso said he was pleased to return to the track, where Daniel Ricciardo scored Renault’s second podium last year “I do like the Imola racetrack and I was glad to see it return to Formula 1 last year. It threw up an exciting race in 2020 and I think some of the changes to the circuit since I raced here over ten years ago has improved the racing.”

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix comes six months earlier than its 2020 calendar slot and before F1 would usually start European racing. “It’s also different to be in Europe so early in the season, we usually arrive a little later in the year when the continent is going through its summertime,” commented Alonso, whose 2005 victory was on the 24th of April. “I have some good memories here particularly in 2005 when we won the race and later took the championship that year.”

Alpine have confirmed they will introduce an aerodynamic upgrade package for the Imola race, after being frustrated by their results in Bahrain. Executive director Marcin Budkowski said the team would also be testing future upgrades during Friday practice running.

“The Bahrain race weekend confirmed some of the weaknesses of our package, which we’re working hard to improve and gain the few tenths of a second that we are currently missing to fight at the front of the midfield.” He said, after the team failed to score points in Bahrain. “We have an aerodynamic upgrade package coming to the car for this Grand Prix. In addition, we have some test items to assess during Friday practice, which will help define further upgrades planned over the next few races.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 F1 season

Browse all 2021 F1 season articles

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

Posted on Categories 2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, 2021 F1 season articlesTags ,

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 8 comments on “Alonso keen for Alpine upgrades at Imola”

    1. I really struggle to have faith in this team. Both on the chassis and power unit side. Although they made some decent progress during 2020 to become the 3rd quickest team at one point, that’s honestly where they should have been in the first place. The fact their customer team in McLaren beat them in two consecutive seasons despite being so far behind in 2018 is a truly damning statement as to Renault/Alpine’s incompetence. And it seems that after another decent season in 2020, they’ve fallen back into the lower echelons of the midfield again. And as for the power unit, we are now in the 8th season of these power units (and they’ve been in development for around 10 years), and still, they can’t seem to get any closer to the top. I don’t expect things to get much better for 2022, if at all. If they are consistently being beat by teams with considerably lower budgets than them, then why should we expect them to move forwards when everyone is on a more level playing field? I think serious questions need to be asked of Marcin Budkowski if Alpine is not competitive in 2022. Let’s not forget his promotion to head of aerodynamics at McLaren coincided with their fall from grace. I’m not saying he was responsible, but he doesn’t have a great previous track record to fall back on.

      1. Renault now employ Fernando. I’m not sure why he has such faith in their power unit, but he does. They’ve just finished with two years of Daniel telling them their power unit and car needed upgrading, and now they’ve employed someone I suspect is at least as demanding as Daniel, if not more demanding. Maybe Renault were happy to ignore Daniel’s complaints, but I just can’t see them employing someone of Fernando’s prestige and then ignoring what he has to say.

        1. @drycrust I don’t think Renault’s issue is necessarily accepting their deficiencies. It’s just a case of they don’t have the know-how or engineering expertise to seem to bridge the gap that has existed for nearly a decade. Honda managed to bridge the gap despite being miles off Renault at one point and fewer years working with this engine. I think Alonso is just saying what he has to while he is new to the team. Unless Renault miraculously can overturn their deficit to Mercedes with the split-turbo design pioneered and largely perfected by Mercedes over 10 years in time for 2022, I think that’ll be the end of any hope they have for the future of fighting at the front.

    2. @mashiat I feel much the same. In the hybrid era, Renault have not shown the desire or ability required to bring their power unit up to the level of their competitors, and therefore find themselves with the weakest power unit. And unless they finally address this for 2022 then there will be limited opportunities to improve it over the remaining few years of these engine regs. Their cars themselves have mostly been underwhelming and unless their immediate upgrades show a massive improvement (relative to the improvements their rivals will be making) then they look to have taken a step back this year.

      When we first saw their ‘radical’ top heavy concept I wondered if this was something they thought could be carried over into the 2022 regs, but I haven’t heard anything indicating this is the case. So like you said, while I hope I’m wrong I’ve seen little in the past few years to indicate that they will show a big improvement in their competitiveness for the 2022 season and onwards.

      1. @keithedin curious that you assert the Renault power unit is “the weakest power unit”, as the talk in technical circles is that the Renault power unit really is not that far off either Mercedes or Honda, and is ahead of Ferrari’s power unit (which, although having partially recovered from 2020, has only partially recovered its deficit after the enforced changes).

        As for now, yes, the indication is that Renault’s current design does take into account the upcoming freeze and has built in a certain number of modifications that are being homologated ahead of the deadline, with final changes coming later this year ahead of the 2022 homologation deadline.

        1. @anon It was a bit of an assumption I admit, but hard to say how much Ferrari has improved after just one race. Alpine were 11th and 12th in the speed trap in qualifying, though I thought they had been lower in testing. But I was mostly thinking about the comparison with Honda, who started their project far later and were hopelessly uncompetitive for a few years, but after putting the effort and resources in they have clearly leapfrogged most of the competition and now seem to be similar to Mercedes, maybe even better in some ways. Ferrari had their own troubles obviously, but to me it’s Renault that stands out as not showing any commitment or ambition to really push their product as much as necessary if they really had the intenti

        2. @anon It was a bit of an assumption I admit, but hard to say how much Ferrari has improved after just one race. Alpine were 11th and 12th in the speed trap in qualifying, though I thought they had been lower in testing. But I was mostly thinking about the comparison with Honda, who started their project far later and were hopelessly uncompetitive for a few years, but after putting the effort and resources in they have clearly leapfrogged most of the competition and now seem to be similar to Mercedes, maybe even better in some ways. Ferrari had their own troubles obviously, but to me it’s Renault that stands out as not showing any commitment or ambition to really push their product as much as necessary if they really had the intention to contest championships.

    3. I think let’s give the team a chance. There is a bunch of new people in top positions and new positions also. Also Cyril was seeing over quite a bit of the team. It seems they have spread those responsibilities now.

      I would like to see this situation as the McLaren situation where a lot of people were putting down Zak Brown when he took over from Boullier.

      I’m sure as a manufacturer team there is a lot of capacity to be able to catch up to the top teams under the right leadership.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.
    If the person you're replying to is a registered user you can notify them of your reply using '@username'.