MARCH 3, 2024

Alpine reaping consequences of bad decisions

Alpine are now paying the price of some "bad decisions" in managing the crisis-struck Formula 1.

Esteban Ocon, Bahrain GP 2024
© Alpine

That is the claim of sacked former team boss Otmar Szafnauer, referring to the management turmoil that characterised the Renault-linked team's 2023 season - and has now culminated in the woefully slow 2024 car.

After Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly qualified dead last in Bahrain and fared little better in Saturday's season opener, it emerged that the team's top two technical names - technical director Matt Harman and aero chief Dirk de Beer - have resigned.

The stopwatch doesn't lie, Szafnauer told Viaplay on Saturday, "and it doesn't look good.

People at the highest level have made some bad decisions. Firing people and not providing security within the team from a psychological point of view gets you this result later on.

Former F1 driver Timo Glock explained to Sky Deutschland: "The mess started last year.

Many key figures were thrown out, including Otmar. Changing personnel in the development of a new car brings unrest in the team and we are now seeing the consequences.

According to reports, Alpine's new car could be as much as 11 kilograms overweight. It's not that much, Gasly insists. "We know we have to find something in many areas.

It's not just one thing, but the whole.

Current team boss Bruno Famin put a brave face on the crisis on Saturday, insisting Alpine is on the way to improving the team and the car.

It's a general lack of performance, he admitted. Too little traction. The handling is not good. It's a little of everything.

Ocon explained: You would expect the car to be terrible to drive, but that is not the case.

Both Ocon and Gasly are out of contract this year, raising the prospect that Alpine will struggle to attract top-notch drivers for 2025 and beyond.

One solution might be to groom Mick Schumacher for his return to the grid, given that he is already racing for Alpine's new world endurance championship team.

When asked if a F1 test for Schumacher might be in the works for 2024, Famin ruled it out. We're not allowed to do that, the Frenchman admitted.

He is a Mercedes reserve driver and our contract with Mick only covers the sports cars. Schumacher's WEC campaign started this weekend in Qatar, and he finished 13th.