Esteban Ocon says Alpine deserved the Monaco podium as Otmar Szafnauer addresses the comments made by Laurent Rossi in public.

It has been an up and down months for Alpine where they have seen all kinds of emotions. They had the double disaster in Australia which was followed by the disastrous Baku weekend. They bounced back with double points in Maimi.

And eventually took a podium in Monaco courtesy Ocon and Spain saw another double points. But amid those races, Alpine chief Rossi has made some scathing remarks about his F1 team where he hasn’t shied away from stating his disappointment.

Even to the extent where there was hints about Szafnauer being axed if needed. The podium in Monaco came as a relief where Ocon did lose it for the time being but the rain helped him recover it to add to his tally of rostrum finishes.

He has trust on Rossi and Luca de Meo despite the public comments. “I mean, I think it was clear that we were not happy with how the season started,” said Ocon. “We were struggling and, you know, not scoring as much points as we really needed to.

“But, you know, we never stopped believing, we never stopped working the way we should, to try and get that car as high as it can go. And nothing has changed from that side and everyone was giving their maximum for it to happen. And yeah, everyone at the team deserves what has happened in Monaco. All the hard work has paid off.

“And it shows that we can be there and, and it gives everyone more hunger to keep that going. Now that we’ve tasted it, obviously, that’s why I’m saying we always need to aim to make it happen again. So I’m hoping is the first of many this season. But, yeah, that’s what we need to look at.

“I’m not saying that’s what’s going to happen but I’m trusting the plan of Laurent Rossi and Luca de Meo, they are very competitive people and yeah, I’m fully onboard with the 100 races plan they have,” summed up Ocon. The drivers weren’t as much in the firing line as Szafnauer was considering that Rossi felt that the buck stopped at him.

The added pressure is nothing new for the veteran who has seen a lot in his time. “I read it just like you did,” started Szafnauer. “So I didn’t have an idea beforehand. I’ve been there just over a year now and I spent the first six, seven, eight months assessing deeply as to the team, the structure, how it operates, how it functions, the good, the bad, the indifferent, and I have a good understanding.

“I’ve been doing this for 25 years at a very senior level and I know what it takes to move a team from, say, last to fourth or mid-grid to second. So, I have an understanding and the plans are in place. Added pressure? Look, it’s Formula 1. We put pressure on ourselves if we’re not winning, we all do, so I think everybody in this room.

“We don’t have a Red Bull here. Red Bull are happy and the rest of us are working hard to catch up,” summed up Szafnauer who admits that the structure at Alpine is slightly different than what he has seen in the past, but his job remains the same where he has to get the results in quickly.

“The structure is a little bit different than what I’m used to in the past,” said Szafnauer. “From a technical perspective we do make the decisions and we need to be able to put the tools in place, the right people in place in order for success. And we’re working on that. Also, even prior to those comments, the changes were in progress already.

“It just takes time. We all know it’s a huge team effort and we have very, very talented engineers that work really hard within the regulations, you know. We’re capped on ATRs, we’re capped on how much time we can spend in the tunnel or in CFD. So, it’s not a matter of working harder or working more, like it was in the past.

“You know, I remember the days of Brawn when I was there, we were running three tunnels. You can’t run three tunnels anymore. So it’s not a matter of quantity. It’s a matter of quality, and getting the right quality takes time, and that’s people. So we’ve got the plans in place, we’re talking to the right people. It just takes time.

“There are two aspects to Formula 1 racing, one of which is the racing part – we have 1,000 people that work at Enstone and 350 in Viry, and of those 100 travel to the races here, so there’s extracting every bit of the underlying performance of the car, that’s one element of it. But there’s also the underlying performance of the car.

“And that happens at Enstone. And we’re working hard to make sure that we deliver on improving this year’s car the best we can. I think we did a good job last year of in-season improvements. We have to do the same and over the winter, again, underlying pace of the car, I think we’re not happy because we’re not Red Bull.

“However, within our immediate competition, we made gains on both Ferrari and Mercedes, and the outlier this year is Aston, going from seventh to be the second, third fastest car. So, we hit most of our targets, not all of them over the winter, and for us to hit all of them we have to do some make some changes within the organisation and those are those changes are coming,” summed up Szafnauer.

Here’s Jeremy Clarkon living up to promise made to Alpine