Alonso: Alpine could be fighting for sixth or seventh, or 15th

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Fernando Alonso isn't making any bold predictions for Alpine ahead of the 2021 season, insisting the French outfit could perform anywhere from P6 to P15 in F1's tight midfield.

Alonso - whose winter preparations were disrupted by a cycling accident last week that required surgery to a fractured jaw - believes the changes to this year's regulations are unlikely to result in a significant step forward in his new team's performance.

Renault concluded its 2020 campaign fifth in the pecking order, but just 21 points adrift from third-placed team and top midfield contender McLaren.

Alonso therefore expects the rebranded Enstone squad to pick up where it left off last season, but the Spaniard is holding back on making any predictions until after pre-season testing at the very least.

"I didn’t start thinking about that yet – I think we are too early into preparations," Alonso told the official Formula 1 Magazine.

"Maybe after the winter test you can imagine or dream about the first race and where you can be. Right now, I didn’t have any thoughts about that.

"Realistically, we have to have our feet on the ground knowing that even if there are some changes for this year, they are not dramatic, so performance will not be too different compared to last year."

By that logic, Alonso is expecting the usual suspects - Mercedes and Red Bull - to lead the field while the battle will be fierce behind. But the two-time world champion says Alpine's ambition is to consistently perform among the top-ten this year.

"I think Mercedes will be in front of everybody, then there will be Red Bull and there will be a close fight between a few teams," added the 39-year-old.

"Alpine will be within that group of teams and that will be interesting to see who adapts better to the new regulations.

"I think it will be very tight, so we could be fighting for sixth or seventh on the grid or it could be 15th very easily. Our job is to be at least fighting for the top 10."

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