Alpine wouldn’t have finished higher than P4 even with Fernando Alonso’s lost points

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso in the Alpine garage. Suzuka October 2022.

Fernando Alonso relaxes in the Alpine garage while the race is red-flagged through wet weather. Suzuka October 2022.

Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer says even if the team had scored all the points Fernando Alonso lost through retirements, they still would have only finished fourth in the championship.

Alonso ended his last two-year stint with the Enstone team with a retirement, his sixth of this season and fourth in seven races.

The Spaniard, who is an Aston Martin driver as of Monday, voiced his frustration: “Unfortunately, another engine problem. It has been a little bit the summary of the year.

“Unfortunately, in car 14 always these things happen, so one more.”

After the double World Champion’s last DNF in Mexico he said the team’s reliability issues had cost him “66 points”, that number now up by a few as he was running inside the points when he retired in Abu Dhabi.

However, Szafnauer says even if Alpine had scored all those points Alonso lost, P4 was still the best they would have achieved in the Constructors’ Championship.

Asked if he understood Alonso’s frustration, he told the media including PlanetF1: “For sure he had more failures then Esteban did, and it was always at times when he could have scored good points. So yeah, he does.

“I too am not happy that for example in Melbourne, I think he could have been maybe on pole position, but he had an issue in qualifying. So for sur that’s disappointing.

“However, even if we had no issues on Fernando’s side and he would have scored all those points that he lost, we still would have finished fourth in the championship.

“That was our goal. We’ve achieved that.”

Alpine finished P4 with 173 points, 342 behind third-placed Mercedes.

Szafnauer stands by the team’s decision to go for performance over reliability, saying it has left them with a good basis for next season.

“I mean had we finished fifth, maybe I would have said something different,” he said.

“But even if we were reliable this year from the outset I doubt we would have been third. We’re still a ways away. So finishing fourth is probably the best we could have done this year.

“Therefore it was right strategic decision to go for performance if it has to be at the expense of reliability, because we ended up in fourth. So it’s the right thing to do.

“And now, it’s a good basis to start from for next year. The cars are slightly changed, but pretty much the same. There’s a smaller aerodynamic, not small but significant, aerodynamic change on the floor. But the power trains are frozen.”

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