Alpine F1 have work to do after ‘solid three-day test’ provides more questions than answers and Gasly claiming “I don’t think we look great”

Photo Credits: BWT Alpine F1 Team
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Alpine’s Team Principal Bruno Famin claimed Alpine have had ‘a solid three-day test’ and that they’ve focused on themselves. That is probably a good thing because if they were comparing the A524 to other cars on display they would see that it looks very much as if Alpine are going to be battling near the back of the grid as opposed to the midfield. However, try as Famin might to stay positive, Pierre Gasly has admitted that his challenger for the 2024 F1 season ‘doesn’t look great’ while the remarks from teammate Esteban Ocon took more of a middle ground with the Frenchman calling the test ‘productive’.

The launch of Alpine’s A524 earlier this month, had already featured the team’s drivers speaking in a way which showed they were aware that there was a chance they would be battling near the back in the early stages of the season. Esteban Ocon said at the time “We have a new concept, the car is totally new, and when you do that you normally take a step back. I don’t say that this is the case, because we haven’t put the car down yet. But the plan is to improve it through the year and get more progress, the more that we go through the laps.”

Now that three days of testing have been completed it is being assumed by many that the A524, which is the product of an aggressive revamp, does seem to have sent the Enstone team backwards compared to where they were in 2023.

Everyone knows that times mean little in a test due to so much uncertainty as to what everyone’s package is but having said that, the overall times for the three days did find Esteban Ocon and Gasly 16th and 17th respectively out of the 20 drivers who ran out on track in Bahrain.

Gasly’s remarks to Sky TV initially echoed those of his team principal.

“To be fair I haven’t really focussed on others because there’s been so much going on our side,” but then his tone differed slightly before returning to the company line. “I don’t think we look great. But at the same time, we still have a couple of days to really understand everything we’ve done. We’ve put the car upside down, done a lot of tests. So hopefully, some analysis and answers will bring us some more performance. And then, we’ll find out, no one will hide any more next Friday.”

Gasly also explained the need to be patient, even if that is not an attribute racing drivers like to show.

“Clearly it might take some time before we really unlock the performance we want from that car.”

Esteban Ocon shared his thoughts of the test in the team’s press release and his comments showed that he also knows that the team has a lot of work to do to just get back to the position they were in last year.

“Overall, it was a productive three-day test for us, probably one of the strongest during my time at the team.” claimed Ocon. “Since I jumped in the car, from Day 1 everything has been faultless and strong from an operational standpoint. The car has been working reliably and we managed to complete our testing programme. We improved the car and made progress from the first day to the last day. But we have a lot of work to do and it’s going to be interesting now to go through all the data and understand where we can make improvements.”

Photo Credits: BWT Alpine F1 Team

As for the thoughts of Team Principal Bruno Famin, they focused on reliability, what challenges the team face next and he paid tribute to the work done in the factory.

“It’s been a solid three-day test for the team where we’ve focused on ourselves and committed to a comprehensive and important test programme. We have been operationally strong all week and demonstrated great teamwork between both factories and the trackside team, which has been good to see. Our reliability has been good and that has enabled us to complete our test plan as expected. Now is the time to work through the data and concentrate on optimising the package we have in our hands ahead of next week’s first Grand Prix. We know where we stand. We are expecting a challenging start to the year as we continue to learn more and more about our A524 to develop it across the season.”

The A524 is a new concept with the wider nose, a redesigned exhaust system and completely new rear suspension being just three of the obvious differences from last year’s car. Alpine should be praised for thinking outside of the box. As to whether the gamble pays off remains to be seen but at least innovation is still alive and well in the pinnacle of motorsport. Alpine are clearly not starting the 2024 season in the position they had anticipated but a 24-race season ensures that there is plenty of time for them to turn things around. This is a mindset clearly shared by Gasly which will surely breed confidence through the team and the Alpine fanbase.

“The good thing is we’ve identified very clearly what we’ve got to work on as a team. Now, whether we’re able to fix it with car setup or not, for the first few races of the season, time will tell, but for sure there’ll be an aggressive plan of upgrades which we will need to close the gap. It has been very clear with Esteban, we had very similar feedback straight away,” Gasly explained. “And then yes, it’s all about analysing whether we can fix these issues with set-up ahead of next week, or whether we need bigger upgrades to counter these couple of issues which we can identify already.”