Fernando Alonso says Alpine cannot make excuses its budget and resources are not on par with Formula 1’s bigger teams in 2022, as it aims to fight at the front this year.
Alpine finished fifth in the constructors’ championship in Alonso’s comeback season, albeit 120 points behind fourth-placed McLaren, and claimed a shock win the Hungarian Grand Prix.
As the French outfit preparers for this year’s all-new major regulation changes, it has undergone a management restructure with executive director Marcin Budkowski and advisor Alain Prost both leaving their roles.
Looking ahead to Alpine’s prospects for this season, Alonso believes the team has no excuse to not be in amongst the frontrunners, now – under F1’s cost cap – it is running on a similar budget to the bigger-spending outfits.
“I’m optimistic we have the right resources, we have the commitment from Luca de Meo, from Laurent Rossi, all our management they are committed to Formula 1,” Alonso said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“The budget cap should help because there is no unlimited budget for the top teams. Now it’s more or less the same budget for everybody and it’s up to us to do a good car. If we don’t do it, we will learn from our mistakes.
“But there are no more ‘we have less budget’ or ‘we have less resources’ or ‘they are using two wind tunnels’. There are not any more of those things. So, it’s up to us.”
Alpine’s main weakness in 2021 proved to be its lack of consistency, with its form eradicating from race to race.
But while its performance on-track lacked predictability, the Enstone-based squad’s CEO Laurent Rossi felt improvements behind the scenes were an important step last year, with Alonso agreeing Alpine is in “better shape” compared to 12 months ago.
“We are still not on top of all the problems, but everyone will have a different opinion,” Alonso said.
“Obviously with experience working for different teams, I could see some things that we were weak, other areas we were very strong. You try always to make the team stronger and stronger, and more prepared into 2022.
“I think we are in better shape now than what we were in March, in Bahrain, but still a few things I’m sure that we’ll have to fix.
“I think we need for sure to close the gap on the engine, that’s why there is this new project, and also we need to close the gap on the aero performance.
“It’s difficult to know what is the gap, so at the moment there are only hopes but I understand that these hopes are for everybody. It’s not only to us, and it’s a completely unknown territory what we will find [this] year.”