Otmar Szafnauer insists Alpine have no regrets over driver lineup

Jaden Diaz

Alpine was at the epicentre of an explosive F1 market saga last year, losing out on Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri within a matter of weeks. This quite messy period left Alpine scrambling to complete its 2023 lineup – making F1 news headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Considering that Alonso continues to perform at an exceptionally high level, alongside the increasingly impressive pace Piastri is showing as a rookie, it is clear that Alpine missed out on two high-calibre drivers.

Perhaps more significantly, Aston Martin and McLaren have proven far more competitive this season – despite the Enstone team finishing ahead of both these outfits in the standings last year.

After a hectic summer, Otmar Szafnauer’s squad signed Pierre Gasly to fill the gap in its driver roster. This decision, at least so far, has proven little more than what it seemed at the time – damage limitation.

However, the Alpine team principal does not believe Alonso’s experience is being missed by the team:

“Experience does count for a lot, but at a certain point, you’re at the point of diminishing returns. Both of our drivers are relatively young, they are fast, and they also have good experience,” he said on ‘Beyond the Grid’.

“They haven’t won World Championships, and Fernando has, so you might say that he knows how to win titles. But our guys have won races. They’re fast and have good experience, and I’m happy with both of our guys.

“We have to get the most out of the two drivers we have now. Fernando is doing a great job at Aston Martin – he’s been on the podium a few times.

“But for me, it’s not about what could have been. We just have to get the best out of the drivers we have right now.”

Irrespective of whether Alpine emerged with the best line-up for 2023, it seems clear that the limitations of the A523 will be the most important area to address.

Although Esteban Ocon’s podium finish in Monaco provided some hope for the A523’s potential, Alpine finds itself continuously losing ground to its nearest rivals.

Talk of a ‘100 race plan’ quickly becomes obsolete when teams still constructing new infrastructure and facilities (such as McLaren) still find a way to climb the field.

In any case, with Laurent Rossi no longer CEO, perhaps the French outfit can move on from the instability of the last 18 months.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang