Otmar Szafnauer, the Team Principal of Alpine, has returned to his “objective of one hundred races to integrate the Top 3”, four days before the first Grand Prix of the 2023 Formula 1 season in Bahrain. The head of the French team also spoke about the arrival of Pierre Gasly, from AlphaTauri, after the departure of young Oscar Piastri to McLaren, describing Piastri as ‘old news’.
Szafnauer confirms that as far as he’s concerned, Alpine will return to the same regime as last year and continuously bring in updates on a near race by race schedule, the aim to mingle with the top three F1 teams.
The aim is a long term goal of fighting for podiums, and especially victories, by 2024 ergo the one hundred races target. The French outfit will no longer rely on a young Australian hotshot to partner with Frenchman Esteban Ocon, the American team boss says he’s happy with Pierre Gasly instead.
Alpine to build on last year
Szafnauer says that the new car is far more reliable than last years, saying that “compared to this time last year, we are much more reliable,”
“We were able to complete the programme with the tests we had planned, which is important because having to learn with the car during the races is worse.
“But then it’s in the races that we can improve the car throughout the season. And those who can make the most improvements as often as possible will be the ones who will be successful. So our goal is to improve the car as quickly and as often as possible.”
100 races to make it into the top 3
With the old new goal of 100 races to get into the top three teams in F1, the Alpine boss is bullish:
“Over the past year, we have hired many people with skills that are complementary to those we already had. We have also started to buy the simulation tools we need…
“We are clearly moving towards our objective of one hundred races to integrate the Top 3 and to covet victory in the championship.
“We still have 78 races to go, which is about four years, and it’s totally achievable. We still need some things, tools and equipment, but we are on the right track. As for the teams, when you have the opportunity to recruit people with skills you don’t have, you do it.”
Oscar Piastri is old news
As far as Otmar Szafnauer is concerned, the driver lineup this year is OK despite the fact that Alpine lost their young hot talent Oscar Piastri to McLaren in a rather public debacle played out on social media. Alpine announced their young Australian as a replacement for the suddenly departing Fernando Alonso, only for Piastri to deny the announcement, who soon then was announced as Daniel Ricciardo’s replacement at McLaren.
When asked if Szafnauer had any hard feelings toward McLaren and Piastri, the American was non committal saying:
“That’s in the past. As I said before, I am very happy to have Pierre.”
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Lmao they lied about signing him and now they’re going: PiAsTrI iS oLd NeWs
Haha… It was hillarious watching OS talk about loyalty on DTS. Seriously? How long has been in F1.. Loyalty is the last word you’d use in relation to people who work on F1.
That’s said, it will be very interesting to see how Alpine perform now. The Alonso factor should not be discounted. The other thing is, Esteban Ocon has been the common denominator in every teamate relationship breakdown during his time in F1. OS has a tough job on his hands.