Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Monza, 2022

Alpine mystified by loss of pace after strong start to Monza weekend

2022 Italian Grand Prix

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Alpine sporting director Alan Permane admitted the team was at a loss to explain why it couldn’t match the pace of key championship rivals McLaren at Monza.

The two teams are locked in battle for fourth place in the constructors championship. Alpine arrived at Monza confident the track’s long straights would play to the strengths of their A522.

That appeared to be borne out by their pace on Friday, Permane explained, noting Fernando Alonso was encouraged after the first day of practice.

“Fernando ran the medium tyre and thought it was fantastic,” said Permane. “He was quick, I think he was lapping mid-’26s with full tanks.”

However the team “couldn’t get anywhere near that” in the race. “So we’ve got some work to do to try and understand what went wrong.”

“We genuinely struggled for pace,” Permane reflected. “We struggled in qualifying, both drivers said they made mistakes, which is uncharacteristic so clearly the car was difficult to drive. [In the race] we didn’t have the pace, and we didn’t have the pace that we had on Friday afternoon.”

No one area of the car’s balance appeared to explain the loss of performance, said Permane. Alonso reported “some laps he had a bit of understeer, some laps he had a bit of oversteer,” during the race. “Nothing out of the ordinary, no major dramas at all.”

However the team struggled to stay in contention with Lando Norris’s McLaren, and Alonso eventually retired with a power unit problem.

“We couldn’t stay with Norris once they got into clean air,” said Permane. “There was a bit of a ding-dong, we overtook them, they overtook us and that sort of thing. And had [Alonso] not stopped, we were predicting that he would have finished just behind him. So for a race that wasn’t going that well for us we’d have been next.”

The team drew some consolation from the fact Monza’s extreme configuration makes it unlike any of the remaining venues F1 will visit. But Permane remains keen to understand why the pace they saw on Friday disappeared.

“We didn’t expect to struggle,” he said. “I thought we’d be okay, it was very quick and we ran absolutely fine on Friday.

“That’s the tricky thing, that’s what we don’t understand. The long run with no DRS, so really using your full drag, looked alright and quicker than McLaren and quicker than all the people we were racing. Not as quick as the top three cars, but it didn’t look like there was any major dramas.

“We definitely were a little bit high on the draggy side, but we figured that was the quickest way around and that’s [how] we raced.”

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2022 Italian Grand Prix

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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5 comments on “Alpine mystified by loss of pace after strong start to Monza weekend”

  1. It is called slow enginitis.

    1. I thought they were in for an uphill battle @peartree as soon as they renamed the team Alpine.

  2. It was a bit of a surprise to me too, yeah. Most of recent races Alpine looked a lot better than McLaren on the Sundays, but here Ocon got nowhere and Alonso slowly trundled down the order until the car gave up.

  3. It was just funny to hear Alonso’s radio:

    Alonso: “Something is wrong with the deployment. Do you see the problem?”

    Alpine: “No, looks all good from our end.”

    Alonso: “Wow.”

    About 3 laps later and the car was dead.

    Reminds me of:

    Media: “How’s that Piastri contract? Seems like there’s a problem developing. Do you foresee any problems?”

    Alpine: “All good on our end. He’s locked in.”

    Piastri: “Wow.”

  4. Also, it was so obvious something was wrong. Alonso went from glued together with Norris to a 5 second gap in just a few laps. I’ll bet on power issues over Alonso forgetting how to drive mid-race.

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