‘Risk’ the only option as ‘next couple of weeks’ to make or break all-new Alpine A524

Jamie Woodhouse
Alpine A524 on track as sun sets during Bahrain testing.

Alpine A524 on track as sun sets.

Pierre Gasly knows “it’s not going to be an easy start of the season” for Alpine with their all-new A524 concept, though said the “risk” had to be taken as they had hit the performance ceiling.

With Formula 1 now operating in a budget cap era, it was seen as the ideal opportunity for Renault’s works team Alpine to climb the ranks and re-join the conversation at the very front of the grid, but this is yet to materialise.

Gasly joined the team ahead of the 2022 campaign, a season which brought a setback rather than gains on Alpine’s showing in the previous season, as they slipped to P6 in the 2023 Constructors’ Championship with only two podium finishes scored.

Alpine had to take ‘risk’ of new F1 2024 concept

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

It is safe to say that Alpine very much went back to the drawing board for their latest creation, the A524, which Gasly said shares only the “steering wheel” when it comes to comparisons with its predecessor.

The three days of F1 2024 testing in Bahrain passed without any major reliability concerns with 333 laps completed for Alpine, as the team navigate themselves through a major learning exercise with their new challenger.

Speaking to media including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher ahead of the third and final testing day, Gasly said: “So far it’s been a smooth first two days, no reliability issues, which is always an important one with a new car.

“But we know the challenge we’re facing ahead of us. We’re coming into 2024 with a complete new car concept, so pretty much starting from a brand new piece of paper with that car.

“We basically only kept the steering wheel, so there’s a lot to learn, a lot to discover, a lot to explore, a lot to understand as well from all the testing and the aero tests we’ve done.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

The 12 drivers out of contract at the end of the F1 2024 season

F1 driver numbers: Which numbers will the 20 F1 drivers be using in 2024?

Testing is a notoriously tricky way to gauge the true pace of a team at the best of times, though the performance within that A524 was particularly tough to judge across the three days of action.

Alpine has been keen to play down expectations and Gasly continued that trend by admitting they are voyaging into the unknown at the start of F1 2024.

However, this early uncertainty is a necessary evil, as Gasly said the old concept had been pushed as far as it could go.

Asked if there is more potential in Alpine’s new concept, Gasly replied: “It’s too early to say.

“We know last year we sort of plateaued in terms of development and potential, so it was the time to take a risk and try to close the gap to the cars ahead of us.

“Whether it’s going to prove to be the right choice, we’ll find out in the next couple of weeks.

“We know it’s not going to be an easy start for us of the season, but we do know that the next couple of weeks in the early part of the year is going to be extremely important to develop and fight for the points.”

Gasly continues to be partnered by Esteban Ocon as Alpine’s all-French driver pairing enters a second season.

Read next – F1 2024 pre-season testing: All the key stats and facts from Bahrain