Otmar Szafnauer anticipates better reliability and more points for Alpine in 2023

Henry Valantine
Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer. Austria July 2022.

Otmar Szafnauer surveys the grid in front of the Alpine of Esteban Ocon. Austria July 2022.

Otmar Szafnauer expects Alpine to make their power unit more reliable in 2023, which coupled with their inherent performance should bring more points.

Alpine reeled in and eventually overhauled McLaren in the 2022 Constructors’ standings to take fourth place as ‘best of the rest’ behind Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes, but reliability issues plagued the A522 – and Fernando Alonso in particular – last season.

Alonso bemoaned his bad luck at having to retire six times throughout 2022, which he feels cost him up to 70 points and leave his now-former team with the barb that “once again, Car 14 stops” when he was exasperated with yet another issue in Mexico City.

Given the gap to Mercedes ahead in third, the Alpine team boss argued that the impact of the retirements ended up not mattering as much as they could have done in the grand scheme of things, as they managed to just about nip in ahead of McLaren come season’s end.

But while power unit regulations are frozen in terms of being able to add more power, there are provisions in place for the manufacturers to be able to make them more reliable, and Renault and Alpine together will look to make the most of that opportunity before the season starts.

With that, Szafnauer believes that could help provide the basis for a better all-round season ahead for Alpine in 2023.

“I think fourth is probably where we deserve to be,” Szafnauer said of the team’s 2022 performance, as per RACER.

“We should have had a few more points than we do, we had some reliability issues so not really on performance, and I look forward to fixing those next year because they’re allowed to be fixed from a powertrain perspective. You can make those changes.

“We should have a more reliable powertrain next year even though some of the issues we had weren’t really with the powertrain, they were with the ancillary bits. We have to redesign those and fix them.

“I think if we can do that with the powertrain being frozen – and I have every confidence that we will – then I think we’ll naturally score more points.

“Had we been reliable all year, you probably heard Fernando say ‘I’d be 60 points down the road’ or whatever it is. I don’t know how many it is but it’s definitely a significant amount, double digits, so instead of [14] points ahead we could be 70 ahead, something like that.

“So if we just do that and the performance level stays relatively the same we should be further up the road. But we also want to take a step in performance, and it’s harder to do on the powertrain because it’s frozen, so you have to do it by understanding the chassis, doing a better job on chassis engineering, having two drivers that can continually score. So that’s our focus.”

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