Alpine target fight with F1’s front-runners in 2023

Alpine A523 - Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon

Despite an underwhelming set of results to start the 2023 season, senior figures at Alpine seem confident the team can make the necessary improvements to fight with F1’s top-runners.

A penalty-riddled first round for Esteban Ocon, combined with a strong comeback drive for Pierre Gasly, indicated the A523 was one of the fastest midfield cars but unable to fight with the top four teams.

This premature assessment seemed confirmed in Jeddah, where Alpine enjoyed a far cleaner weekend and cemented themselves as the fifth-fastest team.

However, the A523 performed at an even higher level in the following round in Australia.

The French squad left Albert Park empty-handed, but Gasly’s pace (albeit with DRS assistance) was enough to stay in 5th place and within touching distance of Carlos Sainz for most of the race.

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.
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Considering Alpine’s objective to become a front-running team, this was certainly an encouraging sign – although plenty of work still lies ahead if this relatively anomalous performance is to be replicated.

Speaking after Australia, technical director Pat Fry outlined some of his expectations for the team’s mid-season development:

“We should have a reasonable step for Baku, and then more coming through, and I think, for race six, there should be some reasonable steps going,” motorsport.com quotes him as saying.

“A lot of bits that we were hoping to get to Miami, they’re doing a great job at the factory, and we managed to get those forward.

“We’re, on average, four or five tenths [behind] in qualifying that we need to find, not to catch Red Bull, but to catch the others, which is all within our grasp, really. 

“We’ve just got to out-develop them.”

Alpine – much like midfield counterparts McLaren – have somewhat perfected the art of expressing the ambition to fight at the front whilst simultaneously calling for realistic expectations.

This seems to be the fine line to balance for teams unable to make the necessary progress to become true contenders in Formula 1.

With that said, Alpine is within touching distance of the top four teams – so it is not without question for the French outfit to fight more consistently at the front.