Alpine expecting ‘massive’ downforce step with new floor at Singapore GP

Jon Wilde
Alpine ahead of an AlphaTauri and a McLaren. Monza September 2022.

Alpine feel they have a “massive step of downforce” coming to the A522 car for the Singapore Grand Prix.

After a spell during which they had pulled 24 points clear of McLaren in the race for P4 in the Constructors’ Championship, Alpine received something of a reality check at Monza last time out.

They failed to increase their seasonal tally and instead it was Lando Norris who pulled six points back for McLaren – who would have scored heavier but for Daniel Ricciardo having to retire when his car shut down with six laps remaining.

Fernando Alonso also did not make it to the finish for Alpine, instructed to bring the car back to the pits and climb out on lap 32 of 53, while Esteban Ocon came home an agonising 11th.

The Italian Grand Prix weekend was, therefore, one to forget for the French team, but they are confident of an improved showing with some upgrades as Formula 1 returns to Singapore for the first time since 2019.

“For sure, 100% it’s an outlier,” said Alpine sporting director Alan Permane about the team’s performance at Monza, quoted by Motorsport.com.

“We’ve got a new floor coming for Singapore, which has a massive step of downforce.

“We’ll be back where we should be and we are really looking forward to there and especially Suzuka (the Japanese Grand Prix the following weekend) with this car. It’s going to be fun.”

Having said Monza had been “an outlier”, Permane was aware the Alpine pace had dropped away after a promising Friday when Alonso, unaffected by grid penalties unlike nine rivals including team-mate Ocon, had looked a potential podium candidate.

“We didn’t expect to struggle,” added Permane. “I thought we would be okay.

“We ran absolutely fine on the Friday and that’s what we don’t understand. Long run with no DRS we looked all right – quicker than McLaren and all the people we were racing. It didn’t look like there were any major dramas.

“But I think we genuinely struggled for pace a bit. We struggled in qualifying. Both drivers said they made mistakes, which is uncharacteristic, so clearly the car was difficult to drive.

“In the race, we didn’t have the pace we had on Friday afternoon when Fernando ran the medium tyre and thought it was fantastic.

“He was quick, I think he was lapping mid-26s with full tanks, and we couldn’t get anywhere near that on Sunday. So we’ve got some work to do to try to understand what was going on.”

Read more: Ranking the contenders to replace Fernando Alonso at Alpine in 2023