Alpine believe ‘similar issue’ caused their Singapore double DNF

Jon Wilde
Esteban Ocon's Alpine car next to a cherry-picker. Marina Bay October 2022.

Alpine have indicated the problems that forced Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon’s retirements from the Singapore Grand Prix were related.

Within seven laps of each other and before the halfway mark, both Alpine drivers had stopped by the side of the Marina Bay circuit which was drying out after heavy rain and a 65-minute delay to the race start.

Alonso was first to exit, heading into an escape road as he lost power in his A522 while being pressurised for his position by Max Verstappen.

Then on lap 28 of 61, Ocon’s engine let go spectacularly with a big plume of smoke, the Frenchman hopping out with the car rolling backwards on an incline as he urged the marshals to restrain it.

It was a desperately poor weekend for Alpine as their arch-rivals this season, McLaren, capitalised on their double DNF by taking fourth and fifth places respectively through Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.

That meant Alpine are down to fifth in the Constructors’ Championship, now trailing McLaren by four points.

“A pity as we’ve been very competitive all weekend,” was Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer’s take on events.

“It looks like we suffered a similar power unit issue on both cars which we will investigate in detail. It’s important we identify the root cause of what happened and put preventative measures in place to avoid a repeat.

“In terms of the progress of our race, it was challenging with the drying conditions and we were about to enter a window where we could have made the call for dry tyres before our retirements.

“These days happen in racing from time to time and while it’s a disappointing feeling within the team now, we have another race next weekend in Japan where we have the opportunity to recover.

“As a team, we’ll take this one in our stride and we already look forward to returning to Suzuka and racing at a fantastic circuit.”

Ocon, Alpine’s only confirmed driver for next year, when he is expected to be joined by compatriot Pierre Gasly, had been improving through the field after starting way down in 17th due to brake problems experienced in Q1.

“It’s been a frustrating day for the team,” said Ocon. “On my side, a power unit issue ended our race early and I know the team are currently investigating the exact cause of the failure.

“The positive we can take away is our car has been performing well all weekend and we know we have good pace.

“Suzuka is my favourite track on the calendar, so right now we will dust ourselves down and come back stronger in Japan.”

Read more: Fernando Alonso now ‘minus 60 points’ due to Alpine mechanical issues