Formula 1: Alpine pilots at a loss after qualifying disaster

Both Alpines did not get past Q1 in qualifying for the Formula 1 race in Monza. For the start from the ninth row, there is only one realization: there is a lack of power.

High speed and Alpine – they don’t get along in the 2023 Formula 1 season. The French manufacturer retired with both cars in Q1 at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza. That doesn’t surprise anyone at Alpine – nor in the rest of the paddock either.

After all, Alpine attests the Renault engine itself a deficit of up to 30 hp. It is obvious that there is no prize money to be won in the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.

Pierre Gasly was 17th, 0.003 seconds ahead of his teammate Esteban Ocon. After the podium finish in Zandvoort, it was back to reality.

Alpine pilot Gasly: ​​”It’s been a difficult weekend so far”

“Unfortunately, I was happy with the balance of the car all weekend, but we were only two seconds off the pace the whole time,” he replied when asked by Motorsport Network about the team’s form.

“We knew it was going to be the toughest weekend of the year here in Monza, with all the long straights. And yes, that was obviously the case.”

As we all know, hope dies last, in this case it really died: “We expected to retire in Q1. But you always have the optimism that maybe you could do it with a hard tire or something. But that was all, what we’ve had, unfortunately. And yes, it’s been a difficult weekend so far.”

Ultimately, the situation was reversed: with the hard tires, Alpine only got heavier (not to say “harder”). “The hard tire is probably the worst of all,” says the Frenchman.

Alpine pilot Gasly misses speed

“I was very happy with the car on the soft tire and quite happy on the middle one. With the hard tire the balance in the corners was much worse and it wasn’t going in the right direction for our car.”

“If you look at the GPS, it’s clear where we’re losing time. Yes, we knew we got the maximum out of the car, but the package doesn’t fit the layout. I think we have to analyse, evaluate and come up with a better solution for next year.”

The former Red Bull driver makes it clear that he is not opposed to the alternative tire allocation, which is called “Alternative Tire Allocation (ATA)” in technical jargon. He still has suggestions for improvement: “I like that you bring in a little more unpredictability.”

“But what I don’t like is that you have four sets of tires in practice instead of six. That way you can’t really drive representative lap times. Ultimately, that wasn’t the problem this weekend, just that [fehlende] Speed.”

Alpine pilot Ocon surprised by poor performance

Ocon, meanwhile, was even worse. He collided with Lando Norris and had to go through the gravel bed. With a damaged underbody, he couldn’t get past 18th place, but was close to team-mate Gasly. For him, the elimination of both blue cars in Q1 is more surprising than for Gasly.

“Not as hard as this, no,” he said when asked if he expected a difficult workout. “I had the feeling that we could at least get into Q2 and fight for the top there. But today a lot of cars were faster than us. That’s the objective reality.”

“It was a difficult session for us and not the result we wanted as both cars retired in Q1. It seems to be going less well here than at the other tracks. We’re still figuring out why we’re here have these problems. And I am sure that we will find answers.”

“Today it just wasn’t good enough. I pushed hard on the first try, suffered minor damage to the underbody on the second try, which wasn’t ideal. But in the end it was only three-thousandths of a second between the two cars. I think we have ours Realized potential pretty well. It’s a shame we’re not fast enough.”