Alpine pack up early after fire thwarts Alonso

Jon Wilde
Fernando Alonso after his Alpine had broken down at the Circuit de Catalunya. Barcelona February 2022.

Fernando Alonso standing looking forlorn after his Alpine had broken down at the Circuit de Catalunya. Barcelona February 2022.

Alpine packed up early and headed off home from the Barcelona pre-season session following the A522’s morning breakdown.

Fernando Alonso was at the wheel and had already had one ‘moment’, when he had run into the gravel, before having to stop on the Circuit de Catalunya, bringing out the red flags for the first of five times during a highly disrupted four hours for the teams.

The two-time former World Champion’s team reported on social media he had asked to “stop the car at Turn 13 due to a loss of pressure”.

Smoke was seen billowing from the car, which had been on a long run on the C3 medium tyres and had clocked the fastest time of the morning thus far just a few minutes earlier.

Fernando Alonso standing next to his smoky Alpine. Barcelona February 2022.
Fernando Alonso standing next to his smoky Alpine after stopping during the pre-season track session. Barcelona February 2022.

There was to be no more running for the Spaniard or indeed the team as a whole, for they announced just before the end of the four-hour session that their work was over for the week, at least in terms of data-gathering on track.

That meant no more action for Esteban Ocon – who at least had completed a full day on Thursday with 125 laps – as he missed the wet-tyre test scheduled for Friday afternoon, when the circuit was to be artificially watered.

“The team have successfully completed 266 laps during the three days of the Barcelona shakedown,” said a statement from Alpine.

“Repairs on the car will continue and as a result, we won’t be running for the remainder of the day. We look forward to being back in action at the next test in Bahrain.

“After further investigations in the garage following Fernando Alonso’s on-track stoppage earlier this morning, the team can confirm the issue was a problem with the hydraulics. A minor sealing issue led to a fire in the back of the car.”


Although Alpine had not been near the top of the timesheets on the first two days of the test, their car had been running reliably before the gremlins kicked in on Friday.

Sporting director Alan Permane had said of Ocon’s full-day 125-lap stint on Thursday: “It was another solid day when we spent the morning doing some set-up work and understanding more about the car, learning of course on every run.

“In the afternoon, we ran a race simulation which went well. The car ran reliably and we had one small stoppage for a bracket on the floor of the car that had broken which we had to replace.

“Aside from that, the new power unit and the chassis ran faultlessly.”


El Plan goes awry in Barcelona

Fernando Alonso's third day of test stopped when his car went up in smoke.