Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi says he has a ‘glass half-full’ approach to hopes that the French outfit can finish fourth in the 2022 Constructors’ Championship.
Rebranding from Renault in 2021, Alpine finished fifth in that year’s standings, but even with Esteban Ocon’s surprise victory in Hungary, the Enstone outfit finished a distant 120 points behind McLaren in fourth spot.
After seven races of 2022, Alpine are currently in sixth position with 40 points, but are only 19 behind McLaren in fourth, and Rossi says a top-four finish should be achievable.
“The glass is half-full,” Rossi said in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com.
“Fourth would be good, third is a bonus. It’s better than last year, showing good improvement on performance and competitiveness.
“Let’s be honest. At the moment, the Red Bulls and the Ferraris are in a league of their own.
“I hate that expression, but it would still be best of the rest to be third or fourth, so fifth or sixth could be something we could fight for.
“But we don’t even [finish] seventh or eighth regularly, so I’d rather consolidate fourth position and finish seventh or eighth regularly, and fifth and sixth every now and then.
“Then we can aim higher. At the very least, get to where we should be, where our qualifying pace seems to always put us, [because] we don’t convert qualifying pace into race pace.”
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Alpine losing performance over race weekends
Rossi noted that one of the reasons for Alpine’s inability to maintain their pace over the course of a race weekend is down to the A522’s struggles to cope with the porpoising caused by F1’s new-for-2022 aero regulations.
“A bit of a learning curve, because some of the components that were deemed reliable are not, because we discovered that the car was porpoising,” said Rossi.
“Last year, you would ride a kerb, and most of the components would not move. Now, they are being shaken all the time, and they just don’t last.
“Part of that is bad luck, Fernando being hit by Mick [Schumacher at Imola, and his] race was over after two laps.
“And part of that is also we have our own work to do to understand why the performance is deteriorating.
“[Besides] all the reliability, bad luck issues, we still have an underlying decrease of performance over the race.
“We think we nailed the phenomenon, so we’re going to try and do that in the next races, because we think we have the potential to score big points, and it’s not really happening, so it’s frustrating.”
Shuffling the pack in the engine room
Since joining Alpine in 2021, Rossi prioritised improving the efficiency of Alpine’s power unit, and oversaw a reshuffle of the team’s power unit division, resulting in it being split into four distinct departments. What prompted the change?
“The idea was, instead of having one person calling all the shots, I have four,” explains Rossi, whose business background includes a degree from Harvard Business School and a stint at Google.
“In reality, it’s three – the fourth is global operations, so it’s getting the engine back and forth to the race.
“Three people gives me a bit more visibility on every stage of the development and on the performance, and then a bit more room to discuss the technical choices.
“Those people have done that, and they’ve done a pretty good job.
“I cannot manage them directly on a daily basis, which I did last year, because it was priority number one to recover a good engine. That’s where [Executive Director] Bruno [Famin, who joined Alpine at the start of 2022] comes in.
“It’s not necessarily the perfect organisation, but it’s one that works in many other organisations that gives a lot of clarity and transparency every step of the way.”