Alpine insist they are ‘not failing’ Alonso

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso climbs into his car on the grid, steering wheel on the car's nose. Austria July 2022

Alpine driver Fernando Alonso climbs into his car on the grid, steering wheel on the car's nose. Austria July 2022

Otmar Szafnauer has rubbished suggestions that Alpine are “failing” Fernando Alonso, saying there are “several reasons” he’s lost out on points.

Alonso scored a solitary point at the Austrian Grand Prix weekend but it was a case of ruing what was lost rather than celebrating a point-scoring finish from a back-of-the-grid start.

Alonso qualified ninth for the sprint race but an electronic problem with his A522 meant he never left the grid.

As such he started Sunday’s grand prix from the final row of the grid, the Spaniard racing his way up to sixth place before having to make a double pit stop due to a tyre issue.

He finished the race P6, claiming the “points keep avoiding us”.

It is not the first time he has lost out on a good result, Spanish daily AS claiming he should have ’50 or 60 points’ more.

It begs the question have Alpine let him down, something team boss Szafnauer was quick to deny.

“It’s not that we’re failing Fernando, there are several reasons why he hasn’t scored points,” he told the publication.

“I remember the case of Mick Schumacher, a touch made a hole in the sidepod. His defence in Canada against Bottas cost him a penalty, just like in Miami.”

Alpine perform a pit stop on the car of Fernando Alonso at the Red Bull Ring. Austria, July 2022.

Szafnauer says Alpine’s troubles on Saturday when Alonso couldn’t get off the grid are something that happens to everyone, the American revealing it was an issue with the control unit but one he doubts came from Alpine’s side.

He continued: “Things like what happened on Saturday before the sprint can happen to anyone. It’s not an Alpine problem.

“We do not know what caused the problem, but everything indicates that it was a problem with the control unit, which is a part that we did not design, but that we bought.

“Failed on an Alpine car because of our installation? I doubt it. But we must understand what has happened.

“We have to solve all the little problems, so that they don’t reappear in the car. But you never know what will be next, because if not, it would already be resolved.”

The team boss believes his driver is in fact “happy” with the car that Alpine having given him to race.

“He has been happy with the car for several grands prix, that’s not something that happens suddenly,” he said.

“Fernando’s seventh was assured and sixth was possible (before the double stop), but the car has pace. When a car has pace you can afford those things.”

Szafnauer is convinced that despite the on-track issues, Alonso is as committed to Alpine and Formula 1 as he was when he was winning World titles.

“I have not worked with Fernando in the past, this is my first year, but from what I see he still loves racing and he likes to compete.

“In life, in general, you are happy when you are above your expectations. If your expectations are realistic and you exceed them, you will end up happy. Not only Fernando, all of us. Fernando is still there.”


Fernando Alonso gets 8/10 for manic Austrian race

Fernando Alonso had to work his way up from the back on more than one occasion, and still took a point home with him from Austria.