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Will Alpine be the Weakest F1 Team in 2024?

“I don’t think we look great,” Pierre Gasly said of Alpine....

“I don’t think we look great,” Pierre Gasly told Sky Sports F1 during pre-season testing. That’s as damning a statement as you get from a Formula 1 driver, and it was reflected on the timing sheets. The A524 was the slowest of all cars in Bahrain, it didn’t finish a race simulation, and it didn’t look very responsive. Does this suggest that Alpine are right at the back of the pack? The weakest F1 team?

“It will take some weeks,” Gasly said. “It’s important to be objective about it when you start with a brand new car, [you] can’t expect to figure things out in three days.

“It’s not going to be an easy first race, [we’re] not going to start from where we would have liked. But we’ve got to give ourselves some time to understand that new car concept.”

It isn’t looking great for Alpine, but at least there is a silver lining. The new platform has clearly identified problems that can be rectified as well as promising suggestions of increased performance in the future. So there will be plenty of upgrades to come from Alpine.

“The good thing is we’ve identified very clearly what we’ve got to work on, as a team,” Gasly explained. “Whether we’re able to fix it with car set-up for the first few races of the season, time will tell. But for sure there will be a pretty aggressive plan of updates which we’ll need to close the gap.”

Unfortunately for Alpine, these `updates will include elements that the team had hoped to have by the start of the season, and these aren’t expected to dramatically transform the car.

To be fair to the French team, they have made a completely new car in which “only the steering wheel survived,” according to technical director, Matt Harman. It’s a big risk that certainly doesn’t pay dividends in the short-term. Which is why it’s so refreshing to see Alpine not providing arbitrary targets and plans. So does that mean the 100-race plan is finally dead? Team principal, Bruno Famin, seems to suggest so.

“Our objective this year will be to generate the [right] dynamic and improving the car and improving the team as well, the team as a whole and not only trackside, much more than giving a target in terms of final result, position in the championship or podiums,” Famin explained to The Race.

“What we really need to see is this dynamic. The car is what it is right now. The important thing is to be able to develop it together with the team and the factories – Viry, Enstone, trackside, everybody – is pushing for improvement.”

The key to Alpine’s potential future success will be time. The 100-race plan and “the project,” whatever they decided to label it, meant that Alpine could never take a step back without consequences from the board. Just look at what happened to Otmar Szafnauer.

As Famin explained, “It’s a kind of cultural change we need to implement.”

Truer words have never been spoken, but will it be something they’ll be able to implement? Time will tell, but we do know it’s possible as Frederic Vasseur is undergoing the same task at Ferrari with seemingly positive results, as is James Vowles as Williams. It’s possible, but it needs time.


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