Alpine boss Laurent Rossi says the French outfit is still on course with its 100-race plan to join the fight at the front in F1 despite the team's rocky summer away from the track.
Rossi laid out Alpine's ambitions at the start of 2021 and the team ramped up its level of performance this season, positioning itself as 'best of the rest' as it fights McLaren for P4 in the Constructors' standings.
But in early August, the Enstone squad was disrupted by the bombshell news of Fernando Alonso's transfer to Aston Martin.
Alpine subsequently promoted highly-rated reserve driver Oscar Piastri to a race seat for 2023, only for the Aussie to snub the offer and reveal that he had signed for McLaren!
Alpine contested its young driver's decision, but the FIA's Contract Recognition Board validated Piastri's contract with McLaren.
Losing Alonso and Piastri was a painful double whammy setback for Alpine, but it won't thwart the team's 100-race forward march insists Rossi who called the succession of unexpected events a mere "bump in the road".
"For now, it is not derailed because we stay the course [this year] with Fernando, so that's fine," explained Rossi, quoted by Motorsport.com.
"I would contend that we should normally be able to simply absorb that bump on the road, because the most important thing is the car at this stage.
"Imagine if you put Max Verstappen in the 18th or 19th position car, I doubt he is going to do better than perhaps three positions extra.
"And the other way around: if you take a driver in that car and put them in the Red Bull, I'm pretty sure they can score a podium and the win.
"So the car is still the biggest driver of performance at the moment. On that end, we are delivering."
On the track, progress has been steady for Alpine and a new floor that is set to be introduced in Singapore promises more downforce and another step forward according to the team's sporting director Alan Permane.
As far as Rossi is concerned, Alpine remains on the right path continues to ascend.
"We make the right changes, the team is focused and the plan is clear," he said. "Plus we are reinforcing it. So this is always going to be the most important: that the car needs to perform.
"The driver will get you two or three tenths extra, which in races can be super important, but the gap between third and the fourth is way more than what the driver could achieve.
"So as for now, we still need to deliver on the car, and the good news is that we seem to have a good concept that's healthy in terms of giving us upgrades that constantly improve the performance."
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