Feb.20 (GMM) Otmar Szafnauer insists Alpine is not missing Fernando Alonso – yet.
Last week, former two-time champion Alonso caused a stir when he rebuked the Renault-owned team that he has just departed for celebrating fourth overall in 2022.
The 41-year-old claims Aston Martin – his new team – is “more ambitious” than that.
“Here, there will be no celebrations until we win,” said the Spaniard.
Alpine boss Szafnauer, however, insists that Alonso “never raised” his discomfort with the Renault-owned team’s celebrations for fourth place behind Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.
“He was as happy as everybody else,” he insists.
“For us this year, we can get much closer to third than we were this year – and I’ll celebrate that too,” Szafnauer added.
For 2023, Alpine has added Pierre Gasly to the lineup – even though the Frenchman was the team’s third pick behind Alonso and Oscar Piastri.
When asked whether the team is missing Alonso, Szafnauer insisted: “Not yet, actually. Ask me in a couple of months.”
Also yet to be seen is whether Alonso was right to quit the team and make the move to Aston Martin – a team that finished three places behind Alpine in 2022.
“We’ll know in two or three weeks,” Szafnauer smiled.
“But for me, the teal test isn’t 2023, it’s 2024. That’s when they’ll have to come up with ideas for themselves rather than take them from Red Bull or Mercedes.
“That will be the real test,” he added.