Fernando Alonso reckons Alpine hasn’t emphasised as much on performance with its Renault engines and it is not bad luck to use so many in a F1 season.
With Alonso leaving Alpine at the end of the season, the Spaniard is seemingly not holding back against the issues he has faced this year. He sits ninth in the standings behind teammate Esteban Ocon in a year which he described as one of his best till date.
He was referring to his own performance. Having had another engine trouble in Mexico, Alonso will be forced to take another new set in Brazil but the Spaniard is not too concerned about it as he is more focused on finishing the job and heading back home.
“I don’t care,” said Alonso to media when asked what’s wrong with his car. “I’m just going to go to the last race in Abu Dhabi, celebrate with the team and then fly back home.” When asked if there is a countdown, he readily agreed: “Yes. 100%.”
The frustrations for Alonso is down to the reliability issues on the engine side where he thinks Alpine/Renault seems to be underprepared with not much done to improve performance despite the failures on the power unit side.
“In Mexico, I started ninth, I did a good start, then I controlled Bottas for the first 10 laps,” said Alonso. “I started pushing a little bit and then I opened a 20 or 30s gap to our main competitors. In qualifying, I thought we were very slow in qualifying and in the race, I felt very fast.
“So, as I said, Austin and Mexico, I think were my best races, my level is very high at this point of the season – and the standings at the end of the year will be one of the lowest. It’s a little bit frustrating but there’s nothing I can do. [It is not just bad luck but] I think we are unprepared,” summed up Alonso.
As noted above, his main problem is with the engine performance where he thinks not much was put on engine development. “The engine cannot finish the races,” continued Alonso. “It cannot be bad luck when you have to change six or seven engines as we did, and were still not finishing races. I think they have some job to do over the winter, hopefully not too much.”
Amid the talks from Alonso, team principal Otmar Szafnauer – who only joined the team at the start of 2022 – explained the decision behind its focus on performance keeping the freeze in mind which will last until the 2025 season before the 2026 change.
“We mustn’t forget that at the beginning of the year we set out – and this was before I was here, but I think it was the right decision on the powertrain side – to err on the side of performance,” said Szafnauer to media. “Because the powertrain was going to be frozen. So we made a conscious decision to push the performance envelope and fix reliability issues as we got to them because the FIA allows that
“So that was a conscious and strategic decision. And now when we face them, we can fix them. We didn’t do it on purpose to not be reliable. But if you have to err on that side, you push the performance boundary, because you can’t add performance now until 2026, you can fix reliability issues. And we can do it over the winter. So strategically, I think it was the right thing to do. And we still have two races left to finish in fourth. I think we can do that.”
Here’s more from Fernando Alonso plus Esteban Ocon
Here’s news on Pierre Gasly on brink of ban and danger for Alpine
Here’s Fernando Alonso on FIA steward and title comment