Worrying admission made as stagnant F1 2023 team underwhelm new signing

Oliver Harden
McLaren's Lando Norris takes the lead at the start of the US Grand Prix at COTA.

McLaren's Lando Norris takes the lead at the start of the US Grand Prix at COTA.

Pierre Gasly has admitted he expected more from Alpine in a “challenging” first season with the team in F1 2023, but is confident for 2024 and beyond.

Gasly finally cut ties with Red Bull to join Alpine for the 2023 season, replacing Aston Martin-bound Fernando Alonso as Esteban Ocon’s team-mate.

Having finished fourth in 2022, the Enstone team slipped to an anonymous sixth this year – 160 points adrift of fifth-placed Aston Martin and 92 ahead of seventh-placed Williams.

Pierre Gasly optimistic for 2024 after difficult first year with Alpine

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Alpine’s season was largely dominated by internal politics, the most notable development occurring when team principal Otmar Szafnauer and long-serving sporting director Alan Permane were publicly fired over the Belgian Grand Prix weekend in August.

Gasly managed to record two podiums over the course of 2023, finishing third in the Spa sprint race and at the following round at Zandvoort, with Ocon also finishing third in Monaco.

Despite having mixed feelings about his first season with the team, Gasly feels Alpine have established a platform to be more competitive in 2024 and beyond.

Asked to evaluate first year with Alpine at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he told media including PlanetF1.com: “I see it as two sides thing.

“On one side, a challenging year because we were clearly not at the pace that we expected as a team. We thought we’d be fighting for better positions.

“But on the other side, very pleased with the way we’ve worked [as] a team because it’s my first season at Alpine.

“I [arrived] in Bahrain not really knowing how the team works, into a new car, and it takes a bit of time before you find your feet inside a new organisation.

“When I look back, I’m feeling so much better now in the way we’re working, the understanding with the guys and I’m really pleased with the evolution we have had throughout the whole season.

“I’m definitely confident we’ll start from much better foundations from next year onwards.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

F1 2023: Head-to-head qualifying and race stats between team-mates

How to become an F1 driver: Money, dedication, talent and more

Gasly’s assessment comes after Alpine’s former technical chief Pat Fry, now of Williams, claimed Szafnauer was not given “a fair chance at fixing” the team – and accused the hierarchy of a lack of ambition.

He told select media including PlanetF1.com: “I look back at the first three years I was there. We improved Enstone, dramatically – year on year, we built a better car.

“If you put the three cars next to each other, each one was a massive step. Credit for everyone there, the various teams were collaborating a huge amount better.

“I think everyone there should be proud of what we achieved in those three years. I guess I’d gone back there with that… you go back to the place you started your career and try and rebuild it.

“I think we did really well, but from, whatever, a distant fifth, we were a solid fourth. But I didn’t feel there was the enthusiasm or the drive to move forward beyond fourth.

“I decided at the start of March that I want to be pushing things forward. I don’t just want to sit there and not be able to do things. So, for me, that was time to stop and move on really.”

Read next: The team which ‘went to hell quick’ after ‘no juice left’ in F1 2023 concept