We have “a lot to learn” and need to “be patient” — Alpine drivers refuse to write off 2024 F1 season after bad Bahrain test

Photo Credit: Alpine F1 Team
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2024 so far has not been going according to Alpine’s plans. After many early reports of failed crash tests and radical changes to the package following a disappointing 2023 where they were a distant P6, the A524 rolled out for its first official outing of the year last week.

It wasn’t an easy pre-season test in Bahrain, with the French team among the ones with the least number of laps put in over the span of the three days and almost 200 less when compared to the statistics from the 2023 running in Bahrain.

While the race pace didn’t appear to be significantly worse considering the performances put in by rival teams, keeping the team led by Bruno Famin up with the rest of the midfield teams, the qualifying simulations instead saw drivers Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly as backmarkers. It must also be noticed however that Alpine was one of two teams to choose not to test the C4 and C5 soft tyres last week.

Talking about what to expect from the French team at the first round of 2024, Pierre Gasly had admitted that more time will be needed in order to extract the maximum out of the package.

“I think we know where we are, we are pretty much where we expect it to be starting with a new car concept.

“We said at the launch that we will have to be patient. We know there is work, we believe there is potential to unlock from that car package which, unfortunately, we were not able to do from race one.”

However, the 2020 Italian GP winner is confident that with the hard work of everyone in the team that the situation will improve during the course of the season.

“I trust in the team and I trust in the guys that we’ve got to come up with the solution that we need to find the competitiveness that we all want, and I know everyone has worked extremely hard, there is positive change in the team behind the scenes which doesn’t always reflect straightaway on the racetrack but there’s a lot of positive change inside the team.”

Photo Credit: Alpine F1 Team

I do believe there’ll be progression. Obviously, we’re not where we want to be in terms of car balance and car performance and it doesn’t feel as good as we would have liked but what will be crucial in the first few weeks for us is really identify all these weaknesses of the car that we have and find that potential that we will have to unlock.

While the A524 doesn’t look as promising as its predecessor right now, which had achieved two podiums finishes, Gasly maintains hope they can make gains:

Yes, some targets have been missed in terms of the timeline, but it still doesn’t mean that we can’t achieve them at some point along the season. So as a competitive team, no one is happy of having a challenging start. This wasn’t the idea but this is now the situation that we are in and we are facing it together as a team.”

His teammate Esteban Ocon had agreed on the necessity to not write off the 2024 season as a whole in spite of a possible negative result in Bahrain, adding that they need to learn how to get the best out of their new concept:

“The first race is not necessarily going to be the story of the whole season. We are going to get some new parts to the car but it is very possible that we don’t start where we want to be exactly.

“That was always something that we spoke about early in the launch. It’s a new concept where we have a lot to learn. With our car, we start from a fresh page, where we see better prospects for that car and better progression rates,” the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix winner summed up, hopeful for the future of the team.