Alpine chasing race pace improvements

Alpine is targeting an improvement in its race pace

Alpine is targeting an improvement in its race pace. Picture: XPB Images

Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer has singled out race pace as an area his team needs to improve, noting Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon enjoy good single-lap speed.

Alpine has emerged as another contender towards the front of the grid, slotting in comfortably as the fifth-best team in F1 when everything goes to plan, and occasionally higher.

That hasn’t always happened, and in Canada the squad had only Ocon in the points after Gasly started out of position courtesy of Carlos Sainz impeding him in qualifying.

But when on form, Alpine has proved to be a contender on occasion for podiums, with Ocon picking up third behind Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso in Monaco.

There was a double-points finish in Spain too, the team’s fourth of the year, which is a strong endorsement of its potential given the front eight places are usually accounted for at each event.

Those performances, however, rely on a strong Saturday with the Alpine seemingly unable to charge through the field in the race itself.

“I think one-lap performance is good,” said Szafnauer.

“We have to work to make the race pace equal, relatively equal, to the one-lap performance.

“We’re not quite there, but we’re not far off.

“So there will be other things that we’re looking at to bring that race up to where the qualifying performance is, and then we’ll have an even better chance to score more points.”

Alpine introduced a new rear wing, along with revisions to its rear suspension, for the Canadian Grand Prix.

That followed a package in Monaco that saw changes to the front suspension, sidepod inlets, floor, and a circuit-specific rear wing.

It’s a trend that Alpine has followed all season, introducing a steady stream of upgrades at regular intervals.

That includes parts of Austria next weekend, with Szafnauer revealing the team will have a new front wing at the Red Bull Ring.

“We have something in the pipeline, so more coming for Austria,” he said.

“Our strategy is to continuously bring upgrades when we find them, not wait for a big package,” he added.

“So that’s what we’re doing.

“You’ll see even further upgrades in a few more races.”

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