The Alpine team had a difficult Sunday in Mexico as Fernando Alonso was forced to retire and Esteban Ocon suffered cooling problems during the race. Frustration and also a little bit of resentment could be seen on the Spanish driver’s face after the race in Mexico, the two time champion unhappy with the team for providing him an unreliable car.
The Alpine drivers got off to a good start in Mexico City on Sunday, but Fernando Alonso, who was seventh, lost a cylinder on lap 52 and had to deal with a lack of power before retiring with six laps to go. Esteban Ocon then recovered to seventh but had to deal with cooling problems, a recurring problem in Mexico City due to the high altitude, and was eventually passed by Daniel Ricciardo on lap 60.
It was in eighth place that the French driver passed under the chequered flag.
Alpine admits reliability issues need to be sorted
Otmar Sznafnauer, Alpine Team Principal, said:
“Because of the unique conditions in Mexico City, we knew this race would be a challenge. We leave disappointed because only one of our cars saw the chequered flag,
“Unfortunately, Fernando suffered a cylinder failure on lap 52 and had to make do with five cylinders – resulting in a significant loss of power – to try and stay in the points. But in the end he had to retire the car,
“For his part, Esteban was faced with cooling problems from the start of the race, he had to take his foot off the gas at times, which didn’t help his lap times. He did well to bring the car home in eighth position and score valuable points for the team”
The team boss then fully admits that the team are failing when it comes to reliability, and if Alonso and Ocon stand any chance of maintaining the lead over McLaren in the constructors, the team needs to sort out the issues fast.
“We know that reliability will be key in the fight for the championship and this is something we are now lacking despite performing well in recent races. We need to get this problem under control in the last two rounds of the season if we are to achieve our goals. I am confident that we can solve these problems before the last two races,” said the Alpine team principal.
Despite the setbacks, the French team remains fourth in the constructors’ standings and maintains a seven-point lead in the battle with McLaren.
Alonso not pleased
Fernando Alonso appeared to be on course for a top ten finish. He has often talked about the number of points lost due to the Alpine’s unreliability, in Saudi Arabia, Italy and Singapore for example, and he reminded us of this again after the Mexico race.
“Again, car 14 stops before the chequered flag, so I think now we have lost about 70 points,” said Alonso.
“But there is no point in talking about it again, we will see. Only two more races to go and then a new chapter,
“I think Austin and Mexico City were the best races from a personal point of view. In terms of pace, I was about 20 seconds ahead of the McLarens and my teammate. I felt fast, but once again the 14 car had to stop.”
The Spaniard, ninth in the drivers’ championship, will leave Alpine at the end of a turbulent 2022 season to join the Aston Martin team.