The French team once again demonstrated a good pace in qualifying, and proof of this is Fernando Alonso’s fifth place on Friday, as team boss Otmar Szafnauer maintains, although the A522 did not do so well in Saturday’s races and Sunday.
The Spanish driver tested a new ground during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix which seemed to go well, and that contributed to his performance in qualifying. However, the two-time world champion was falling positions in the sprint due to the deterioration of the tires, and in the main event he was forced to leave due to a contact with Mick Schumacher.
On the other side of the garage, Esteban Ocon started the sprint race from 19th position due to a gearbox failure the day before. The Frenchman climbed back to 11th at the end of Sunday, before falling back down the table due to an unsafe release penalty with Lewis Hamilton at his pit stop.
“The good news is the car is fast,” Szafnauer told Motorsport.com. “One lap pace looks good, we just need to work on race speed a bit.”
“The bad news is that we had Esteban [Ocon] in the back with a gearbox problem, and after he started 19th, I think it was good that he finished 11th,” the Romanian continued.
“But Fernando [Alonso], frustratingly, was quick enough to be fifth, and he didn’t add anything back. Mick [Schumacher] spun and hit him, that was it, the end of his career,” he explained. Alpine boss.
“Once he damaged the pontoon, he went flying, and we had no choice but to call him into the pits,” he said. “A big hole in the side and a lot of ground damage, but nothing else, luckily.”
Szafnauer indicated that, after both drivers had tire problems in the sprint test, the race turned out to be better for Ocon : “We had less, because we learned from the sprint, Esteban was the only one who did the race at the end, but We didn’t have the same amount of graining as we did on Saturday.”
“Especially in the intermissions it seemed that we had done a better job than those around us. If we had stayed with those compounds, I think I would have overtaken some of the cars in front of me, since I was taking them,” explained the manager of the French garage.
As for his driver’s penalty for taking him out of the pit stop early, he said: “He had to go a bit slower, which meant it would take longer at the pit stop, but he saw Lewis [Hamilton] coming and stayed away from him.”
“But then Stroll got in his way and got away with it, it is what it is,” Szafnauer said.