Alpine 100-race F1 plan might extend to 120, says Laurent Rossi

Esteban Ocon (FRA) Alpine F1 Team A523. 02.04.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi has spoken openly about his team’s ambitions to climb the grid, unconcerned about the 100-race plan being extended – provided they can become a top team in 120 races.

Rossi started the year with a series of quite fiery interviews, making no secret of his frustrations with Alpine’s start to the 2023 season, which he described as “amateurish” and below the necessary standard.

Considering 4th in the standings was the target set in the A523’s pre-season launch, the only factor that ruined the French squad’s calculations was Aston Martin – whose ascent as a spotlight for Alpine’s failure to climb the field.

In many ways, the Enstone squad is in very familiar territory, having spent years at the front of the midfield but unable to challenge the front-runners.

Although a fantastic podium for Esteban Ocon in Monaco showed the A523 could fight the top teams on a good day, there is still a significant gap to overcome for the team to feature regularly on the podium.

Aston Martin, Mercedes and Ferrari made positive steps in Canada – further widening the gap to Alpine and the rest of the midfield.

Despite this, Laurent Rossi is pleased with his team’s progress:

“It is going back in the right direction. It goes back to the plan we had. Whether it is year three [of Alpine’s plan] or whatever, it might be 120 [races],” he told the BBC.

“Because the era [of these regulations] has been extended by one year, and we go until 2025.

“My goal is that by 2025, Alpine F1 Team has the same means as the top teams, and it operating in a way they can put those means to become a credible contender for the podium. That’s it.

“And we are still going in that direction… I feel we are still on track.”

These comments are far more positive than Rossi’s statements to start the year, no doubt a relief for Otmar Szafnauer and the rest of the Alpine personnel.

However, there are still legitimate question marks surrounding the Alpine squad’s ability to contend for podiums on a regular basis.

After all, this is not the first time a five-year plan has been set at Enstone – with Cyril Abiteboul’s Renault setting out a similar framework at the beginning of 2026.

Rossi seems cautious about committing to F1 success in the short term, instead preferring to postpone any judgement for 2025 or even 2026.

This adjustment in expectation and rhetoric might alleviate the pressure on Alpine in the short term, but observers from the outside will still expect the French outfit to progress and prove they are a legitimate threat to the top teams.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang