Alpine unsure of parts impact after Australian GP crash
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 5th April, 2023 - 3:30pm
Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer is unsure what impact his squad’s two-car Australian GP crash will have on the team’s parts supply.
Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon were both late retirements when the pair came together at Turn 2 following the Lap 57 restart.
Szafnauer refused to blame either of his drivers for the clash which saw Pierre Gasly front the stewards but escape punishment.
The double-DNF was a heavy blow for the team as not only did it lose out on the chance of a good result but now has a hefty repair bill early in the season.
Its rivals were also able to capitalise on the incident, with McLaren scoring 12 points.
“From a budget cap perspective, I think we are going to be okay,” Szafnauer said.
“I don’t think there’s any concerns. It will be costly.
“From a money perspective, probably would have been a lot less costly had it not happened.”
Teams are limited to $136.2 million this year, a sum that (simplistically) covers the running of the race team and the development of both this and next year’s car.
As a result of the cost cap, teams are dissuaded from carrying excessive spares both from a financial standpoint but also in terms of freeing resources to work on other components.
Alpine is planning to introduce an upgrade package for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the end of the month.
The Albert Park crash places renewed emphasis on the production schedule back at the team’s Enstone base.
“From getting parts ready to the next race, I don’t know yet, it’s a little bit early to tell,” Szafnauer said of the impact on the spares stockpile.
“But we will pull out all the stops to get ample spares to the next race and the upgrade we have coming.”
Szafnauer described the coming package as a ‘decent size’ with another set to follow in Miami a week later.
“So we continue to push the upgrades out,” he said.
“The important thing is that they all work when we put them on the car and we have good correlation with our simulation tools.
“We had good correlation last year and if that continues, and we continue to push the upgrades, I think we’ll take that development fight over the season to the others around us.”
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which runs from April 28-30, is the first leg of a double-header that takes the circus to Miami a week later.
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