Mar.3 (GMM) Alpine’s place in the 2023 pecking order is perhaps less clear than any other Formula 1 team.
Team boss Otmar Szafnauer admits that, at least publicly, the sole Bahrain test last week was an “inconspicuous” performance for the Renault-owned outfit.
However, between the boss and the team’s French drivers Esteban Ocon and newcomer Pierre Gasly, it appears to be all smiles ahead of the 2023 season opener.
When told that Alpine’s test results were “curious”, Ocon asked the reporter what he meant.
When told jokingly that the blue and pink car often looked fast while at other times seemed to be driven by new Alpine ambassador Zinedine Zidane, 26-year-old Ocon could only laugh.
“Well, I guess Zidane is a very fast driver then,” he said.
More seriously, he explained: “We didn’t want to be at the top of the times. There’s not much point to being the testing champion.”
Gasly, who switched over the winter from Alpha Tauri to replace Fernando Alonso, even confirmed that Alpine has some “minor” upgrades in the luggage this weekend.
When asked to clarify the team’s mysterious position in the pecking order, he answered: “One thing I can say is that we’re going to be faster than during the test.
“Where exactly, I don’t even know myself. We’re pretty confident and there were definitely positive signs of performance during the test.
“We haven’t pushed with the softer compound yet but we know that the package is there,” said Gasly.