Alpine admit they ‘haven’t taken the fuel out’ of the A523 yet

Jamie Woodhouse
Pierre Gasly driving the Alpine A523. Bahrain, February 2023.

Pierre Gasly behind the wheel of the Alpine A523 at the pre-season test. Bahrain, February 2023.

Alpine are yet to truly unleash the A523, with team boss Otmar Szafnauer explaining that a low-fuel run in Bahrain does not feel necessary.

As everyone tries to piece together a rough pecking order from the testing times, if there was any team that is emerging from the midfield pack as a clear leader, then that would be Aston Martin, Fernando Alonso having looked mighty at the wheel of the AMR23.

Alpine meanwhile, who topped the midfield in 2022, have had a test which would best be described as steady if not spectacular.

That though, as revealed by a “cautiously optimistic” Szafnauer to media including, is because they are yet to go on a low-fuel attack.

“We haven’t taken the fuel out of it yet, we’ll see what we can do over one lap,” said Szafnauer.

So, where does his cautious optimism come from?

Well, he explained that it emanates from the fact that their performance on the long runs has been looking “pretty good”, and while “there’s still some work to be done”, neither Esteban Ocon nor Pierre Gasly have had any complaints about the A523, a very promising sign in testing.

“My optimism comes from the fact that our long-run pace looks pretty good,” said Szafnauer.

“And we’ve had decent feedback from the drivers saying they’re happy with the car, it’s predictable, there’s no gremlins, snappiness. However, there’s still some work to be done.”

There have been some reliability issues throughout the three days, Aston Martin, Mercedes and Alfa Romeo accounting for red flag periods, but generally speaking this Bahrain test has been one of impressive reliability.

And Szafnauer explained that this is why Alpine has so far snubbed the option of a low-fuel run, as it “comes at a cost”. recommends

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“What that allows you to do is go through your test programme as you plan and do all the learnings,” said Szafnauer of the impressive reliability.

“And one reason we’re not taking the fuel out is because in the three days there was a lot of learning that we wanted to do, a lot of experiments that we wanted to get through. If you do the low-fuel running, it’s not free, it comes at a cost, and we didn’t want to take that opportunity.”

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher