F1 2023 development war hots up as Alpine target two rivals

Sam Cooper
Alpine's Pierre Gasly on track at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku, April 2023.

Alpine's Pierre Gasly on track at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku, April 2023.

Otmar Szafnauer believes the next three races will be crucial in Alpine’s season after a disappointing start to the year.

Following the first five grands prix, the French outfit are P6 in the Constructors’, level on points with McLaren but that standing is far below what the team would have wanted heading into the season as Alpine looked to solidify their 2022 P4 finish.

Their season has very much been stop-start so far with a double points finish in Miami undone by both drivers crashing into each other in Melbourne.

But tensions in the team were made worse last week following the remarkable outburst by CEO Laurent Rossi, who criticised the performance so far and seemingly put Szafnauer’s future in doubt.

The mood in the team will have also not been helped by the rapid progress of Aston Martin who went from finishing 118 points behind Alpine to currently being 88 ahead.

“If we can out-develop over this year, which is what we’re trying to do, we’re not that far off from a Mercedes or an Aston Martin,” he said, as per RacingNews365.com.

“But the points difference is big now, we didn’t optimise or even capitalise early on with some crashes and an incident in Baku was far from ideal.

“We scored decent points here, but we need to score a little bit more to try to catch up.”

Otmar Szafnauer does best to cool Laurent Rossi Alpine fire

Having been made to read his boss call his team’s actions “amateurish”, Szafnauer did his best to extinguish the fire created by Rossi.

Speaking during the Miami Grand Prix, Szafnauer said the words of Rossi “puts no pressure” on them but recognised they have to “fix it.”

“Reading something like that on paper puts no more pressure [on us],” he told Motorsport.com.

“Everyone wants to do well here. We’re very well experienced, with technicians and engineers at the highest level, and we put pressure on ourselves. So, we just have to fix it.”