Alpine AGP response ‘best I’ve seen’ – TD Harman

The response from Alpine following the crash involving drivers Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon was highly impressive, according to TD Matt Harman

The response from Alpine after the crash involving drivers Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon was highly impressive, according to TD Matt Harman

Alpine technical director Matt Harman has declared the team’s response to the accident that wiped out both of its cars during the Australian Grand Prix was the best he has witnessed during his time in F1.

Harman worked with Mercedes for 18 years before joining Renault in 2018, and is now approaching his five-year anniversary with the team that runs under the Alpine banner.

In his current role, and knowing major upgrades were in the pipeline for the cars heading into this weekend’s Azerbaijan GP, the crash that saw both Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon end up in a wall was especially unwanted.

But reflecting on what unfolded after being asked by Speedcafe, Harman said: “One thing I would say is that the team, it was impressive.

“It was probably one of the most impressive responses to that sort of action I’ve seen in my 20-odd years.

“Within minutes of seeing the accident, we already had people reacting, planning, and understanding because one of the absolute bottom lines was that it was not going to affect our upgrade plans.

“It wasn’t going to affect us at all, and it hasn’t affected one single part of our upgrade plan, so we have come here with everything in the right way, with the spares reinstated, and everything’s of good quality.

“So I’m quite proud of the team at Enstone and Viry because, with two cars like that, it was quite a big shunt.

“If we have another one of those ahead of Miami (next weekend’s race),  then we will react.

“This is a tricky circuit. As we all know it’s quite close here. Let’s hope for the best.”

No problems expected with Gasly and Ocon

Harman, however, concedes this weekend leaves him with cause for concern as F1 embarks on staging a sprint race around a street circuit.

That is allied to the fact there is also only one practice ahead of a programme that now includes two qualifying sessions and two races.

Suggested to Harman there was more trepidation, Harman added: “Yeah, absolutely, because not only does it have the potential of upsetting this race weekend, but the following one as well.

“But we’ve very good drivers. They know the risks of this event. They know what we’ve just been through, they understand where we are, they understand the costs to the team when these things happen.

“And I think they’ve reacted really positively. I don’t expect that to be a problem this race weekend, to be honest.”

Harman’s concerns were realised after just 15 minutes of the sole practice session when his A523 suffered a loss of hydraulic pressure, sparking what appeared to be a PU fire.

It resulted in it being doused in extinguisher foam, and leaving the team with a major headache to prepare the car in time for qualifying.

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