RACE DEBRIEF

    Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi has praised his team for staying “competitive” after starting the year in “bad shape” as the French squad recovered from early season mechanical issues to finish fourth in the constructors’ championship.

    Alpine endured a stuttering start to the year after a hydraulic issue saw Fernando Alonso stop on track at pre-season running in Barcelona (pictured above). The Spaniard also experienced two DNFs in the opening four races – before another hydraulic issue saw him crash out in qualifying in Australia.

    However, a strong recovery saw Alpine go on to beat McLaren by 14 points to seal P4 in the standings – their highest finish as a team since the 2018 season – which Rossi believes was partly down to his team’s impressive development of the A522.

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    “It's a capacity of Enstone and Viry to deliver upgrades throughout the season and stay competitive,” said Rossi when asked what had pleased him the most about the 2022 season. “We started the season in bad shape. I mean, we arrived in Barcelona, in shambles, I could say, and then the idea was to develop as late as we can, because it was a brand-new car.

    “And then from there, to try and make our way up the grid. Nobody was seeing us anywhere above eighth position, I remember back then. And McLaren had a very fast car, so I'm quite pleased that we managed to catch up and then overtake them to get where we are now.”

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    Rossi was pleased with his team's development rate over the course of the season

    While beating McLaren to fourth in the championship has its benefits financially, Rossi explained that it was even more important that his team carried good "momentum" into next year as they set their sights on competing with the top three teams in the championship.

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    “I mean, it's always better to finish P4 than P5, no doubt,” said Rossi. “At the beginning of the season, the goal was to put a new structure in place, which we did, that structure was supposed to deliver innovations, upgrades throughout the entire season, to be more competitive, which we did, which culminate, ultimately in a better position, which we are very close to be doing.

    “So, it is important, not just financially but also for the momentum. We said we would try and progress every year to catch up as much as we can with the top teams. It's important not to miss the first step. Hopefully, we're going to get there.”