Otmar Szafnauer sees no distraction for Alpine amid what happened around start of summer break once they get back on track for F1 Belgium GP.
At the stroke of the summer break, Sebastian Vettel announced retirement from F1 and post the Hungarian GP weekend, Fernando Alonso dropped a bombshell with a move to Aston Martin from Alpine despite the notion of ongoing talks between them.
Not many put Alonso on the list of Aston Martin’s hiring option. This seemingly surprised Alpine too who hurriedly announced Oscar Piastri as his replacement. But the situation worsened when the Australian denied racing for them in 2023.
Alpine is now looking at compensation from Piastri’s team for the investment they made since the Australian is seemingly to move out of its rostrum. The speculation of him joining McLaren solidified after the team announced an early departure of Daniel Ricciardo.
Amid all of this, F1 is back in action this weekend in Belgium and Alpine chief Szafnauer states that there is no distraction for them once they hit the track as they look to finish ahead of McLaren in fourth in the constructors’ championship.
“Clearly the team has been quite prominent in the world media in the days after Hungary and just before the summer break, however, it is absolutely no distraction for us once we hit the race track again,” said Szafnauer. “While we’re losing a fantastic asset in Fernando for next year, his decision has zero bearing on what we want to achieve together in 2022.
“We’ll be pushing hard as a team – with both Fernando and Esteban in the car for the remainder of the year – in order to put ourselves in the best possible position to meet the aforementioned targets for this championship season. I know both drivers are highly motivated so we’re all looking forward to channeling that energy on track.
“We are all feeling re-energised after the enforced Formula 1 summer shutdown. It’s always a good time to take stock on the season so far, reflect on the positives and assess some of the areas for improvement. Now, we are all feeling ready and motivated for the second part of the season where there is so much to play for in terms of the championship.
“We left Budapest at the end of July in fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship and our aim is simple: we want to be in the same position at the end of the season finale in Abu Dhabi,” summed up Szafnauer, who has a huge task of solving the matter with Piastri and also looking at the replacement of Alonso.
There is also the situation of the FP1 sessions where Piastri was supposed to drive as Alpine’s reserve but the new scenario may result differently. For the weekend at Spa, it looks like the Australian is on factory duty and won’t be at the track publicly.
Meanwhile, the outgoing Alonso is looking forward to a solid end with Alpine in 2022, where he hopes the team can finish ahead of McLaren. “I want to enjoy the rest of this season with Alpine after a strong first half of the year,” he said. “There is still much we can achieve together, and I’ll be pushing hard until the last race in Abu Dhabi.
“Our aim is to finish fourth in the Constructors’, and I think we’ll be in for a tight battle with McLaren for the remainder of the season. We showed strong development in the first half of the year and consistently outscored our nearest on-track rivals in the last few races. We have to keep up this strong development rate from both factories if we are to maintain our position,” summed up Alonso.
Here’s news of Daniel Ricciardo departure
Here’s Otmar Szafnauer on court case
Here’s Mike Krack on signing Fernando Alonso
Here’s Oscar Piastri on no Alpine