Alpine grateful for extended break to make ‘ample spares’ for Baku
By Ian Parkes
Wednesday 19th April, 2023 - 3:45am
Otmar Szafnauer has welcomed the current extended F1 break that has allowed Alpine to make ample spares ahead of what could prove to be another expensive weekend for the team in Azerbaijan.
Alpine left Melbourne’s Albert Park earlier this month counting the cost of a heavy crash involving drivers Pierre Gasly and team-mate Esteban Ocon late in the Australian Grand Prix.
The A523s sustained considerable damage after colliding shortly after the second restart that sent both into a wall.
The cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix, however, and F1’s decision not to slot in a replacement and so create a spring break has afforded Alpine the opportunity to rebuild and plan ahead of the upcoming race in Baku.
It is now almost certain a meeting of the F1 Commission on April 25 will vote in a change to the schedule that will result in two qualifying sessions around the street circuit, one apiece for the sprint and the grand prix.
Given the danger that has always been prevalent around Baku, and the propensity of incidents that have taken place in past events, Szafnauer said: “It does seem that Baku always produces interesting racing and yes, there is more jeopardy because it’s a street race and some of the walls are pretty close.
“The nice thing is we’ve got this three-week break to make some spares in order to be prepared for both the sprint race and the race in Baku. Hopefully, it’ll all be okay and we won’t suffer in Miami (the grand prix on May 7).”
Alpine set for development push for Baku
Alpine is also planning a major upgrade for Azerbaijan, with the break again playing a crucial role in helping the team with its preparations for unleashing the developments it hopes will push it toward the front of a congested midfield.
“The break wasn’t planned but it is a welcome break from both getting ample car parts, as well as bringing developments,” added Szafnauer.
“You know there’s a huge effort to make enough of those parts to ensure that you can really push hard.
“The break also allows you to plan further upgrades that you find through your simulation tools, and knowing that the break is there, you plan them a bit differently, but it definitely helps.”
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