Not where they want to be, Alpine are going to need “more than a few upgrades” to get involved in this year’s midfield battle.
Arriving at the Sakhir circuit for pre-season testing, Alpine were already aware that their A521 was not where they wanted it to be.
Citing a “few issues in the windtunnel”, executive director Marcin Budkowski says they were on the back foot and pre-season testing only confirmed this.
“Going into the test we knew we experienced some headwind during the winter,” he said, as quoted by The Race.
“Some of the regulation changes but also we had a few issues in the windtunnel that slowed us in terms of development.
“We knew we hadn’t had the best possible winter. Therefore we were expecting to be on the back foot.
“Testing kind of confirmed that. We did make progress through the test but we knew we were on the back foot.”
The team failed to score at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix before arriving at Imola for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix with a raft of updates for the car, including a modified front wing.
Both Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso finished inside the top ten, ninth and tenth respectively.
— Alpine F1 Team (@AlpineF1Team) April 19, 2021
Despite that Budkowski admits Alpine are further off the pace than they had expected.
“In terms of reaction, most of the upgrades were planned already,” he continued. “You don’t build a front wing in two weeks.
“We’re pushing hard to improve our performance, it’s clear from the number of upgrades [at Imola].
“But we’re further behind than we’d like to be so it’s going to take more than a few upgrades.
“And I don’t expect anyone else is waiting for us to bring upgrades. Everybody is going to improve their car. So, it’s a relative race.
“It looks like the car’s going to progress but we’ve got more work to do in the next few races to bring a bit more.”
Racing director Davide Brivio was a bit more encouraging than Budkowski.
“We are quite happy,” he said. “And I think we did an improvement, we came closer.
“Of course, we have a number [what the upgrades should be worth in future races]. But I don’t want to say the number to not make too much expectation or make disappointments.
“Let’s see. But of course, we have a number, we have some feeling of improvement. We feel it’s better and that’s why we keep going.”