Alpine: “No impact on our development plan” following Melbourne crash between Gasly and Ocon

Spread the love

Alpine’s technical director Matt Harman has confirmed that the team’s upgrade program will continue as planned in spite of a big accident between their two drivers at the Australian Grand Prix. Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly’s cars sustained significant damage as they collided on the final standing restart at Albert Park.

“Clearly, we suffered some damage to both cars after the unfortunate incident in Australia at the last race,” said Harman. “We’ve had to manage the outcome of that carefully and we’ve all pulled together quickly and reacted extremely well over this spring break to recover the situation.

“I’m pleased to say there is no impact on our development plan and strategy, which is thanks to the relentless hard work at both factories. Both cars are well prepared and ready for Baku.”

For most of that Sunday in Melbourne, Alpine looked set for a big haul of points as Pierre Gasly ran strongly in 5th place, with Esteban Ocon in P9. The Enstone-based team had clearly their best race of the season in terms of competitiveness as Gasly was closely following Carlos Sainz and ahead of Lance Stroll before the late red flag because of Kevin Magnussen’s unusual mistake.

Nonetheless, Alpine are not totally happy as they sit P6 behind 2022 rivals McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship after Australia thanks to that costly shunt. They have also clearly lost out to the impressive Aston Martin over the winter break.

“In terms of the end result from the first three races, we’ve not been quite in line with our expectations,” Harman stated. “The car, in general, has performed well and we’ve closed the performance gap to some of our rivals from last season, while fallen behind to some others.

“Each circuit so far this year has featured different characteristics and we are continuing to learn more about our package each time it’s on track. What is important is the fact our development plan is very strong.

“With the new regulations, we completed a significant amount of learning last year and we know how to extract performance as a result of that. Our plan is to keep developing the car aggressively, the first major step of which we will see this week in Baku.”

Alpine plan on bringing updates to the next three venues as they look to close the gap to Aston Martin, Mercedes and Ferrari in front of them. However, Harman issued a note of caution as they are not as significant as made out by some outlets.

“We are bringing a new floor to Baku amongst some other aerodynamic and mechanical items. We then have a further development at the following race in Miami and something further for Imola after that. This consistent thread will continue throughout the season with more upgrades planned at most events.

“In the short term, what we have for Baku, Miami and Imola is a reasonable step – though not as significant as some media speculation in recent weeks – and it’s important we keep this aggressive rate of development up if we are to keep moving forwards towards our performance expectations.

“Credit must be given to the work going on behind the scenes at both factories in Viry and Enstone in meeting development targets and finding the improvements to make the car faster.”

Photo credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team