Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024 pre-season test

Alpine pair fear “it will not be an easy start for us”

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Alpine’s drivers are resigned to a difficult start to the new season and believe it could take a while to turn the team’s performance around.

The team overhauled its chassis design after falling from fourth to sixth in the constructors championship over the last two seasons. However the A524 was the slowest car in pre-season testing.

Pierre Gasly suspects Alpine will begin the new year on the back foot.

“We just focused on ourselves, did our own programme without too much stress and conducted so many tests as we learn more and more about our overall car package,” he explained. “I expect it will take some time for us to unlock the performance we want from the car but that is no surprise given it’s a
new concept.

“I’m remaining realistic. I know it will not be an easy start for us but what is most important is to keep identifying the key areas of work and to learn and progress.”

His team mate Esteban Ocon said he has already seen signs of progress from the A524. “The car improved from the first to the last day in testing, so we’re hoping to see similar improvements over the course of the race weekend,” he said.

“We know what we’re working with heading into the opening race of the season, and we must extract the maximum from our package to give us the best possible chance of coming away with something from the weekend.”

“It’s difficult to gauge the pecking order after such a short testing schedule, with teams running different programmes and fuel loads,” he added. “We just focused on ourselves and gathered as much data as possible.

“The same also applies for this weekend in Bahrain. We know we’re entering this season slightly on the back foot with the new car concept and the team is working incredibly hard to bring more performance to the car in the coming races.”

His words were echoed by team principal Bruno Famin, who took over from Otmar Szafnauer last year seeking to reinvigorate Alpine’s performance. Famin called the team’s test “productive” but accepted this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix will be challenging for them.

“We knew it was not going to be an easy start to the season. Accepting these challenges is all part of racing in Formula 1 and it is important that we all push very hard to develop the A524 in the coming weeks and months.”

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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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15 comments on “Alpine pair fear “it will not be an easy start for us””

  1. Not really surprising, since the team has seemed to be wondering what it is doing for the most of the last few years now. I do hope they get some direction going, it’s a shame if we don’t get both of these drivers pushing for results more.

    1. They are definitely going the alpine road; sinuous, twisty, up and down.

      1. Good point Jeanrien! They are just embracing the real alpine feeling then.

    2. I get the feeling they’re just waiting for someone to offer them that mythical billion dollars to sell up.
      Let’s face it, they haven really made any real attempt at improvement for years. Even their PU (now and in the V8 era) is not up to scratch, so much so that the only team that made them look good finally ran out of patience and switched to Honda, who at the time, had an even worse PU but at least put effort into real improvement.

      1. That is probably not the reality – I actually think part of the problem is rather the corporate culture in the Renault company (which is coming through with Alpine) and their lack of committing fully to REALLY putting in the money. In part as well because they are possibly lacking a useable main target with their F1 effort, since they really don’t seem to have any real strategy to get Alpine to grow as a brand.

        1. Probably a big part of the problem. They are implementing changes faster than it takes to see the results of the changes. I’ve been in a similar company in the past and it takes a toll on employees motivation due to lack of direction.

          Even if one would argue a designer is not directly impacted by the change of head. It definitely has ramification through new routines, procedures and what else that they need to get familiar with and it creates significant administrative overhead. If it continues for too long, they might dig themselves in a Williams hole.

      2. I get the feeling they’re just waiting for someone to offer them that mythical billion dollars to sell up.

        Yeah, I thought them dumping their leadership was a sign of an impeding sale, but it didn’t turn out that way.

        Still, do they really want to make a 2026 PU that nobody else will use? I haven’t heard anything about them doing what Aston Martin and Andretti are doing with big new facilities, etc. either.

        And as FOM says, if they’re not competitive for wins they have no place in F1.

  2. Correct statement should probably be: “It will not be an easy season for us.” Either way, there’s nothing new here; business as usual at Renault.

  3. Said it over and over, 2025 the last season for Alpine.
    Not investing in another PU, Gasly & Ocon already trying to jump ship, senior engineers are getting fired and the Renault/Lotus mess goes back all over again.
    Alpine was just a purpose time serve its road car sells.
    Guys have the very same steering wheel since 2016 and the last era cars, it can’t be serious.
    And yes I’m a frog.

    1. Coventry Climax
      27th February 2024, 15:35

      Given the amount of resources and effort they put in it, you could even ask -like I think you rightfully do- if there’s any relationship even to Renault itself.

      But: Leave the Lotus name out of it please; apart from Renault using it for a couple of years, in an acknowledgement it has more appeal than their own brand name (and which they now -but wrongly- repeat with the Alpine name), there’s zero connection with Lotus whatsoever. Sure, money exchanged ownership for using the name, but I wouldn’t call exchanging bank account numbers a relationship; I’d be married to all local supermarkets if it were. ;-)

  4. I would be not surprised if Alpine is last after the first 3-4 races…. I hope they can fix that soon.

    1. I don’t think Alpine is capable of big changes. I don’t even think they can change their car enough to make it worse than Williams, Sauber and Haas.

  5. and to think Ocon was almost bragging that he kicked Alonso out of this team. Did him a huge favor.

  6. Great article. I very much like her writing style. Feels much more than just journalism.

    I pictured a living, breathing animal of extraterrestrial origin, hooked up to a thousand arcane sensors that delivered messages in little pulses. All the tubes and sculpted carbon-fiber parts and the endless net of wires all working in service to the godhead engine, formed something totally incomprehensible to me, a feat of engineering so vast it breached the realm of magic.

    And despite the take down of the sponsorship and padock side, there is genuine appreciation of the people, cars and technology, so I think parts of the article are absolutely glowing about F1!

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