McLaren up for ‘very tough’ battle to stick with Alpine in P4 fight

Jamie Woodhouse
Fernando Alonso ahead of Lando Norris. Silverstone July 2022.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine, ahead of Lando Norris, McLaren, during the British Grand Prix. Silverstone July 2022.

McLaren boss Andreas Seidl says it will be tough to keep Alpine within reach, but his team are very much up for the fight.

The battle to finish 2022 as ‘best of the rest’ P4 in the Constructors’ Championship has boiled down to two teams, those being Alpine and McLaren.

It seemed as though Alpine were tightening their grip on that spot before the Singapore Grand Prix, only for the French manufacturer to suffer a double DNF while McLaren finished P4 and P5 to move ahead of them.

Alpine struck back in Japan though, booting McLaren out of P4 and re-establishing a buffer of 13 points over the Woking outfit with four rounds to go.

Seidl believes McLaren now have a huge challenge on their hands if they are to pull back ahead of Alpine and stay there, but they are ready to take that on.

“It’s important now for us really to focus on ourselves, make sure we execute clean weekends, extract every single session the maximum we have at the moment in our car,” said Seidl, quoted by Motorsport.com.

“Only then do we have a chance to stay in the battle with a very strong Alpine team. We have to acknowledge they did a great job so far this season. It will be very tough for us to stay in this battle until the last lap in Abu Dhabi, but that’s what we are here for.

Reliability will play an important part as well in the last races. But still, I think we have a good car, a good team, two strong drivers and if we get our act together, I’m sure we can stay in this battle until the last lap.”

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, racing the two Alpines. Hungary July 2022
McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo racing the two Alpines. Hungary July 2022

Alpine and McLaren cannot sacrifice 2023 for this battle

Of course, there is plenty more on the line than just pride as both teams chase P4, such as extra prize money and time in the wind tunnel, but 2023 is a key season for both teams.

When the new regulations were rolled out for 2022, the ambition being to close up the pack, Alpine and McLaren were two teams quickly picked out as contenders to leave the midfield pack and start challenging at the front again.

Neither team has yet managed this, only McLaren with a podium finish this season courtesy of Lando Norris at Imola.

Alpine and McLaren are not content to remain midfield outfits, so it is vital they make clear progress into 2023 to show they are indeed on that path to challenging for podiums with regularity and race wins too.

If they put too much focus into claiming P4 this season, Alpine in particular having gone in hard with the upgrades, they could stagnate or even take a step backwards next season.

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