Alpine’s poor showing at the Monaco Grand Prix was just a “glitch” and not a true reflection of their pace, according to Marcin Budkowski.
The French team headed to Monte Carlo looking like they had the fifth fastest car on the grid after some strong performances in the previous rounds.
However, they ultimately spent the majority of the weekend behind Aston Martin and AlphaTauri when it came to outright pace.
Budkowski, the team director, says that this was mainly due to struggles with tyre temperatures.
“Unfortunately, our competitors made the most of the race, and especially the ones that were behind us and that were scoring even bigger points because two of the leaders dropped out. So in the championship, it’s painful,” he told Motorsport.com.
“It was a bad weekend for us, honestly. We struggled from Thursday with pace and mostly tyre temperatures. And although we kind of recovered a bit with Esteban in qualifying, he managed to qualify in a decent position, the car wasn’t at that stage set up for tyres that were working.
“So overall, it’s a bit of a weekend to forget. However, there are lots of learnings to get from it as well.”
Nevertheless, he’s confident that the weekend wasn’t a sign of things to come.
“I don’t believe that this is a weekend that is relevant to the progression we’ve shown in Portugal and Barcelona,” he added.
“So we need to make sure that we leave it behind, and we also get the learning from this weekend to make sure we progress and especially don’t get caught out in Baku again.
“It’s car, tyres, circuit and atmospheric conditions, they are the four variables to the equation. I believe it’s a glitch in our progression.”
For the fourth round in a row, Esteban Ocon was the stronger of the two drivers, getting the better of Fernando Alonso throughout the weekend.
The Spaniard did look strong on the Sunday though, finishing four places up on where he started, and Budkowski says that he only struggled in qualifying, going out in Q1, because he didn’t warm up the tyres as well as his team-mate.
“They were both struggling, on Thursday and Saturday morning,” he stated.
“The difference was that Esteban managed to switch his tyres on in Q1, run two, and Fernando didn’t.
“Obviously not a good qualifying, but made a lot worse by the fact that the tyre didn’t switch on. I firmly that believe that had Fernando managed to switch on the tyres on his car as well, he would have been competitive.
“And to be honest, I think had we managed to get them to work earlier in the weekend, Esteban would have been in Q3.”