How Alpi wants to close the gap between the top three in Formula 1

( – For the 2022 Formula 1 season, Alpine completed fourth in the Constructors’ Best of the Rest rankings and was the first chaser of the top three groups, with 342 factors nonetheless a gap to third place. enormous.


Alpine wants to do properly in 2023 with extra confidence and energy


The A522 wasn’t in the first chase group each weekend, however it was on many events and carried out significantly properly on high-performance circuits and low-speed corners. In the finish, it was sufficient to overtake the competitors, particularly McLaren.

After three consecutive years of fifth place with Renault and Alpine, the crew from Enstone moved up to fourth place. The crew scored 173 factors, which is eighteen factors greater than final yr’s 22 races.

That’s progress, however possibly an asterisk. After all, the crew completed fourth in 2018, and in 2020 they scored extra factors in fewer races than in 2022, not counting the dash races in the total.

However, the total rating will be very deceptive for these at the backside of the top 6. A transfer up a few factors may lead to beneficial podiums and even wins, with Esteban Ocon growing the total at Hungary 2021, for instance.

It also needs to be famous that in the case of the Alps, final yr’s closing outcome was affected by poor reliability, which slowed down the work of Fernando Alonso in explicit. On the different hand, McLaren’s profitability was weakened by Daniel Ricciardo’s poor season. Lando Norris scores lots right here.

Schaffnauer: Less than 80 races left

Overall, it may be mentioned that 2022 was an incredible however unimpressive season for Alpine, however basis for the second yr of the new guidelines.

Because Renault bosses don’t need to combat for fourth place eternally. The crew continues to work towards its aim of enjoying with the huge boys in 5 seasons, or about 100 contests — a streak that started final yr.

“We want to get one step nearer to our aim of successful 100 races,” says crew boss Otmar Safnauer about his aim for the upcoming season. “I believe we’re a little bit over 80 now. The 100 began in early 2022. So it is lower than 80 from now.”

“We have to proceed like this, however we’ve got to get nearer to third place. That’s why we want to get nearer to third place than fifth place. So even when we keep fourth, we’ve got to transfer ahead,” mentioned the head of the Alpine crew.

Schaffnauer joined Alpine after leaving Aston Martin eleven months in the past. As typical with new bosses, it took him a while to perceive and recognize the whole lot.

He’s additionally put collectively an efficient approach of working with Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi, whose focus is on the huge image. “I got here in and mentioned I want three, 4, 5, six months to perceive the group, the folks and the personalities,” Schaffnauer mentioned.

Reliability 2022 as the largest development web site

It was about the questions: “What did I see higher elsewhere? What did I see not so properly elsewhere? What ought to be preserved, what ought to be improved?” known as

“How will we go about preventing for the championship in 100 races? What do we want? What instruments do we want? What abilities do we want to complement the abilities we’ve got? So that is how this plan took place.”

“I checked out the plan to see all the parts, and now we’re placing it into motion,” Schaffnauer continued. “So there are some things that I introduced with me, saying, ‘Look, I believe we want extra of this. Some issues have already been acknowledged.”

In reality, the crew’s largest downside over the final yr, powertrain reliability, was largely out of Enstone’s fingers.

Othmar Schaffnauer believes the Alpine will proceed to enhance with a number of adjustments scaling

Schaffnauer factors out that the issues are largely the results of deliberate insurance policies aimed toward growing productiveness after which adjusting the reliability allowed whereas halting growth.

“We had a reliability downside,” says the crew chief. “And I’m trying ahead to fixing them. There could also be adjustments, however a few of the points have been actually associated to the byproducts, not the powertrain. But we’ve got to rebuild them and repair them that approach.”

The head of the group is assured: there’s potential

Schaffnauer predicts that these upgrades will bear fruit in 2023: “I’m positive we are able to do it. Then in fact we’ll get extra factors. Fernando, usually he ought to be 60 factors forward.”

Schaffnauer additionally believes that Alp “scored lots” with the fabric. “So we might have been 70 or 50 factors or one thing like that,” he says, taking a look at the desk. “If we do this and the stage of efficiency adjustments comparatively, we want to push the discipline additional.”

“But we additionally need to take a step ahead in phrases of productiveness,” says the 58-year-old. “And it is harder with the powerplant as a result of it is frozen. So you will have to perceive the chassis, you will have to do job growing the chassis and you’ve got to have two drivers who can constantly rating factors.”

As head of operations at Enstone, Schaffnauer is accountable for the chassis facet. Once he was settled in and had understanding of the crew’s strengths and weaknesses, he started to attempt for enchancment.

“Certainly there are locations the place they’re extra environment friendly or targeted extra on efficiency than peripherals,” he admits.

“I believe it is simple to change issues and also you simply get fully absorbed in the concept of ​​doing issues which are good for the efficiency of the automotive. Even with a giant crew, it is simpler to get that mentality.”

Schaffnauer wants to set up a brand new crew tradition

“We’re not there but. But efficiency has to come first in each choice we make. It’s additionally about management, about what to deal with, and the engineering crew has that focus,” says Schaffnauer.

“We are 900 staff. Everyone ought to have this consideration and it takes time to unfold this tradition. But it goes a little bit sooner when it begins at the top of the administration crew,” he sees himself as a job mannequin. “If they begin performing that approach, so will the remainder of the group.”

The head of the Alpine crew has made a major change to the growth philosophy and is assured that this can bear fruit in 2023.

“One of the most essential issues I did once I received began was to see how lengthy it took to get updates,” he explains. “It took us a really very long time, longer than I’m used to from others.”

Photo gallery: Formula 1 know-how: Alpine A522 construct in photos

“We had a sub-group taking a look at how we might have accomplished issues otherwise, like popping out of the wind tunnel a little bit earlier, beginning technical work earlier, even when generally we had to redo it as a result of issues modified. time isn’t like that.’

“It was nearly saving time. The fundamental factor was that we received the backside accomplished in half the time. That was in all probability the largest issue in phrases of getting it down. I believe we had 4 totally different variations of the flooring. We had to end 5 items every.”

More instruments, extra folks for the new season

“So it is a huge element, and it takes a very long time to get it from the wind tunnel to the highway. If you’ll be able to cut back that point, you may get 4 upgrades as a substitute of two, three or 4 upgrades. Better.”

“I believe that is one factor we have accomplished properly. And I believe you’ve got seen the automotive enhance from after we began.”

Schaffnauer admits that the crew lacks a few of the extra superior assets in front-end groups, for instance in phrases of modeling: “We nonetheless want to make investments in instruments, we’re not there but. I believe others are in modeling instruments. has come a good distance.”

“And we want to meet up with a few of these instruments to make higher choices sooner with simulations with out the want for observe time. Yes, they’re superior for that.”

Alpine’s observe report in 2022 has been accompanied by tough experiences in the driver market: Alonso unexpectedly moved to Aston Martin and younger hopeful Oscar Piastri selected McLaren. But with the poaching of Pierre Gasly, the loss will be compensated.

“Fernando did an incredible job on the automotive,” notes Schaffnauer, explaining how he discovered the substitute. “For me, the criterion is that we’ve got house and fourth in the championship was a pretty place.”

Pierre Gasly as addition to the crew

“That’s why I believe he has to be quick – Fernando is quick. He has to be skilled – Fernando is skilled. And he has to be younger. Fernando may be a bit past his age … But it suits all three standards Pierre.”

“He’s skilled, he is accomplished a number of 100s, so he is not a rookie. And he is quick. And he is solely 26, so he is received some good years forward of him.”

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Schaffnauer has labored with Esteban Ocon for a very long time at Force India, so he is aware of him properly: “He’s positively extra mature. He understands higher. I believe what I like about Esteban is that he would not make errors fairly often beneath strain.”

“I noticed him with him when he beat (Sebastian) Vettel (in Hungary; editor’s notice). I used to be there and we had a sooner automotive. And he did not make a mistake. He lined up his automotive precisely, precisely. He made no errors and gained.”

“I believe it was much more spectacular for me in the moist/dry circumstances at Suzuka, which is tough to drive. Lewis (Hamilton) was behind him all the time, in a sooner automotive, and overtook him. That’s spectacular for me.”

“So he is matured, that is how he is matured. And he is quick. Can he nonetheless enhance? Yeah, we’re going to work with him in some areas.”

In the meantime, Schaffnauer is absolutely targeted on bettering each space of ​​the crew in order to proceed to make progress and proceed to make progress over the previous yr.

“We plan to rent about 80 folks, get extra gear, some in-house, some by buy, and there are buildings that want to be constructed. It’s already occurring. When we get there, you are not going to cease. We’re going to maintain bettering step-by-step.” .

“That’s why we’ve got a steady enchancment plan. The half we left midway by means of is a giant half. And then we proceed to enhance.”

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