Alpine still 'actively investigating' race pace deficit

© XPB 

Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski says the Enstone squad has been hard at work ahead of its home Grand Prix "actively investigating" the reasons for its relative underperformance on race day.

Save for Monaco, Alpine has seen at least one of its drivers qualify among the top ten this season, with Esteban Ocon achieving the team's best result in Spain where the Frenchman concluded Q3 a strong fifth.

But Alpine's performance on race day has been a different story, with the outfit - although a consistent points-scorer - struggling to keep up with F1's top midfield contenders.

"We have work to do to understand our race pace deficit and it’s something we’re actively investigating," explained Budkowski ahead of the French Grand Prix.

"It’s clear the car is capable of good performances in qualifying, but on some circuits, we can’t seem to replicate that good pace in race conditions, and that’s something we need to get on top of to score bigger points in the championship.

"We hope that our findings so far will help us achieving a good result in France, on a full-time circuit more typical of what we normally see in Formula 1."

While Baku offered signs of encouragement according to Budkowski, the Alpine boss insisted Fernando Alonso's P6 result was due to the "fantastic effort" produced by the Spaniard in the closing stages of the eventful race.

"It was disappointing for Esteban to retire early on with a reliability issue, and unfortunately our race pace wasn’t strong enough to allow Fernando to fight for good positions in the race," he said.

"It took a fantastic effort from him to secure sixth position in the last two laps."

Budkowski added that Alpine had made "a few minor improvements" to its A521 ahead of its home race and also some modifications to its rear wing to comply the FIA's new "anti-flexing" technical directive.

"A home race for every team is special," he commented. "Alpine is a French brand with its headquarters in France, while the Formula 1 Team is primarily based in the UK, so we could even say we have two home races!

"It’s a pleasure to represent Alpine on France soil, especially in such a beautiful region, but there is also added attention on the team.

"There are more fans supporting us in the grandstands, VIPs and executives from the Renault Group and therefore the extra pressure to perform.

"Once the race weekend starts, though, every individual is focused on getting the most out of the car, the drivers and the whole Team as we do at every race."

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