Alpine confident of still outperforming Aston Martin when Fernando Alonso moves

Jamie Woodhouse
Lance Stroll ahead of Esteban Ocon and Alex Albon. Imola April 2022.

Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer believes his outfit will still outperform Aston Martin for the time that Fernando Alonso is there.

Following Sebastian Vettel’s announcement that he will retire from Formula 1 at the end of 2022, Aston Martin moved quickly to confirm Alonso as his replacement on a multi-year deal.

Alonso’s decision has taken some by surprise, with Aston Martin currently ahead of only Williams in the Constructors’ Championship, while Alpine are up in P4, leading the midfield pack behind Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.

Szafnauer knows Aston Martin very well, having left the team at the end of 2021 to take over as team boss at Alpine.

Both teams then he says have “great potential”, but with Alonso now 41 and into the twilight years of his career, Szafnauer does not see Aston Martin surpassing Alpine while Alonso is driving for the Silverstone outfit.

Esteban Ocon just ahead of Fernando Alonso. Hungaroring July 2022.

“I know both teams very well and probably know them [Aston Martin] better than any of the staff here, because I was with the other team for twelve years,” Szafnauer continued, as per Motorsport-Total.com.

“Right now, this team [Alpine] is performing at a much higher level, of course, it’s hard to predict the future, but in the near future, I’m sure the team will continue to perform at this level, if not better.

“I’m confident that we can outperform the team Fernando is going to in the time he will be there.”

Szafnauer’s confidence stems from initiatives currently going on at Alpine, which includes a campaign called ‘Mountain Climber’, the aim being to bring 75 people into the team in strategic areas to move it forward.

There is also plenty of investment going into Alpine’s facilities and equipment, all in aid of the goal to win within 100 races.

“And along with the 75 people, there are tools that we are upgrading now, some simulation tools, a new simulator, expanded capacity in manufacturing, some upgrades to our wind tunnel,” Szafnauer continued. “All with the goal of winning in 100 races.

“So, these things are still happening here. And they are happening fast. We already have 850 people here.”

Read More: Find out where Alonso ranked in PlanetF1’s mid-season top 10 driver rankings.

Aston Martin may be struggling for now, but the situation could quickly change

As it stands, Aston Martin have a lot of ground to make up on the pack ahead, though there are plenty of factors which could help them towards quickly improving their fortunes.

Alonso, for example, despite his age is still at the peak of his powers and has shone this season in a competitive Alpine A522. If Aston Martin offer up a competitive challenger, then Alonso can be expected to feature at the business end of the midfield consistently.

Aston Martin also now have their new technical director Dan Fallows in the fold, who previously served as Red Bull’s head of aerodynamics.

Fallow’s signature is one of several high-profile acquisitions for Aston Martin, who are also working on a new factory and windtunnel.

Of course, such investment does not guarantee success, but it does mean that if Aston Martin put all of the pieces of the puzzle together, then they could quickly shoot up the pecking order.

 

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