Alpine are setting the bar high for themselves as Formula 1 enters a new dawn of regulations from 2022. The rebranded team will hope for a stronger performance than last year, where they scored three podiums with Ocon and Ricciardo. However, the season did not start according to plan for the French team. Alpine was one of four teams not to score any points at the Bahrain Grand Prix. In comparison, the team had both cars in the points last year on the same track.
Alpine's CEO Laurent Rossi has played down their chances in the 2021 season. He said that the team is already looking forward to the new regulations in 2022. The team made its ambitions clear after signing two-time world champion Fernando Alonso this season. Rossi will hope Alpine can deliver a car with which the Spaniard can be competitive.
Rossi admitted that the A521 is almost at its full potential, and cannot be upgraded much further. However, Alpine's CEO assured fans that the team is pushing hard to build the "best car" for Formula 1's new 2022 regulations.
In an interview with Formula1.com, Rossi said:
“What we want to do is carry on building on what we’ve done. We know we’ve more or less reached the end of this car anyway. So [we will] extract as much as we can out of this car, use this to fine tune the operations’ organisation and in the meantime make sure we build the best ever car for the next regulation era.”
Alpine have a clear plan for the future
Rossi also revealed that the people within the team were all on-board with the vision set for the 2022 regulations. It is important for Formula 1 teams to have harmony within the organization. When all members pull in the same direction, a team's efficiency is bound to increase, and Formula 1 is all about efficiency.
"We have a plan, we have a vision. When I arrived I spoke quite extensively to Marcin (Budkowski), he laid out a pretty clear roadmap for the team. I went into the weeds, because I’m an engineer, and I spoke to all the engineers, and I realised that they’re pretty much aligned with him, which is rare.
"We have a two-time world champion [Fernando Alonso] that’s going to bring the expertise in. I think we’re on the first step of a long journey, but I’m very confident."
These are certainly exciting times for Alpine, who are showing ambition for the first time since their title wins in 2005 and 2006. The team will look to challenge the top dogs in the series, Mercedes and Red Bull, for the crown next year. However, 2021 could be a painful year for the team. Alpine did not look competitive at the Bahrain Grand Prix, and with Rossi saying the A521 is at its max potential, the team could have a long season ahead.
Alpine are also the only team on the grid to use Renault engines. This has pros and cons. The advantage is that the team can tune the engine to their liking, without worrying about providing the same power unit to a competitor. However, being the sole user also has a significant drawback. Alpine will not be able to collect data on the engine from other teams, which means the only time they can get information on the power unit is when the A521 is running.