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

(Motorsport-Total.com) – 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.

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Alpine wants to rating increased in reliability and efficiency in 2023

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The A522 wasn’t in the first chase group each weekend, nevertheless it was on many events and carried out notably nicely 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 general.

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

It must also be famous that in the case of the Alps, final yr’s closing end result was affected by poor reliability, which slowed down the work of Fernando Alonso in specific. On the different hand, McLaren’s profitability was weakened by Daniel Ricciardo’s poor season. Lando Norris scores so much right here.

Schaffnauer: Less than 80 races left

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

Because Renault bosses don’t desire to battle for fourth place endlessly. The crew continues to work towards its aim of taking part in 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. “And I believe we’re lower than 80 now. The 100 began in early 2022. So it is lower than 80 from now.”

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

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

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

Reliability 2022 as the largest building website

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

“How can we go about preventing for the championship in 100 races? What do we’d like? What instruments do we’d like? What expertise do we’d like to complement the expertise we have now? So that is how this plan took place.”

“I checked out the plan to see all the elements, 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’d like 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 arms.

Othmar Schaffnauer believes that the Alpine might enhance additional with a couple of modifications 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 improvement.

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

The head of the group is assured: there may be potential

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

Schaffnauer additionally believes that Alp “scored so much” 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 try this and the stage of efficiency modifications comparatively, we’d like 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 tougher with the powerplant as a result of it is frozen. So you have got to perceive the chassis, you have got to do an excellent 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 liable for the chassis facet. Once he was settled in and had an excellent understanding of the crew’s strengths and weaknesses, he started to try 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 utterly absorbed in the concept of ​​doing issues which can be good for the efficiency of the automobile. Even with an enormous 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 concentrate on, 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 bit sooner when it begins at the top of the administration crew,” he sees himself as a task mannequin. “If they begin appearing that method, so will the remainder of the group.”

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

“One of the most necessary issues I did after I acquired 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: the improvement of the Alpine A522 in photos

“We had a sub-group taking a look at how we might have executed issues in another way, like popping out of the wind tunnel a bit earlier, beginning technical work earlier, even when generally we had to redo as a result of issues modified. time will not be like that.’

“It was nearly saving time. The foremost factor was that we acquired the backside executed in half the time. That was most likely 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. Better.”

“I believe that is one factor we have executed nicely. And I believe you’ve got seen the automobile 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 great distance.”

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

Alpine’s monitor file 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 amazing job on the automobile,” stated Schaffnauer, explaining how he sought a substitute. “For me, the criterion is that we have now area and fourth in the championship was a sexy place.”

Pierre Gasly as an excellent 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 matches all three standards Pierre.”

“He’s skilled, he is executed a couple of 100s, so he isn’t a rookie. And he is quick. And he is solely 26, so he is acquired 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 nicely: “He’s undoubtedly extra mature. He understands higher. I believe what I like about Esteban is that he does not make errors usually underneath stress.”

“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 automobile. And he did not make a mistake. He put his automobile on the proper line. He made no errors and received.”

“I believe it was much more spectacular for me in the moist/dry circumstances at Suzuka, which is a tricky monitor. Lewis (Hamilton) was behind him, in a sooner automobile and overtook him. It’s spectacular to 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 enhancing 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 tools, 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 hold enhancing step-by-step.” .

“That’s why we have now a steady enchancment plan. The half we left midway by is an enormous half. And then we proceed to enhance.”

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