Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer says that Alpine will be able to stay ahead of Aston Martin next season, despite Fernando Alonso's decision to transfer his allegiance in 2023.
Alpine had been expecting to extend Alonso's contract for another season only to be surprised when Aston Martin unveiled a m,ulti-year deal with the two-time world champion.
The team has also lost its reserve driver Oscar Piastri who has signed a contract with McLaren and looks set to replace Daniel Ricciardo on next year's F1 grid.
But despite these setbacks, Szafnauer is confident that Alpine has the strength and depth to stay ahead of their rivals next season. And as former CEO at Aston, he has insider knowledge about the situation.
“I know both teams well,” he said. “I think I know, because I spent 12 years at the other team - better than I know all the individuals here just yet!" he said this week, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
"Since I've left in December they've hired some more people, some of which I was a part of recruiting - including Dan Fallows, and Eric Blandin from Mercedes," he pointed out. "So I know what they're trying to do.
"I know the people that are there, and I know this team here, and both teams have great potential," he said. “But as we sit here today, this team is performing at a much higher level.
"It's hard to predict the future, but in the near future, for sure this team will continue to perform at that level, if not better.”
Alpine is currently on 99 points in the constructors standings after 13 of 22 races, and narrowly leads McLaren for fourth place. But Aston is down in ninth place on just 20 points.
But Szafnauer explained that Alpine was engaged in its own recruitment that will help keep them ahead of the rest.
“We have an internal programme called Mountain Climber," he detailed. "That's to hire an additional 75 people in strategic areas that will help improve the capabilities of this team.
"Along with the 75 people, there's also tools that we are improving now - some simulation tools, a new simulator, expanded capacity in manufacturing, some upgrades to our wind tunnel.
"All with the focus on being able to win in 100 races," he continued. “So those things are still happening here, and they're happening fast. We're already at a level of 850 people here.
As a result, Szafnauer declared: "I am confident that we can outdo the team that Fernando is going to, in the time period that he will be there.”