Fernando Alonso says he and his team were lucky in the last race in Azerbaijan because they got a chance to make up for a few positions at the restart, but that their pace in the race was not so good and they are working to improve that segment.
Alonso achieved the best results this season in Baku and finished sixth, but before the last three laps he was eighth and thanks to good maneuvers at the restart he managed to overtake Sainz and Tsunoda.
Ahead of the return of Formula 1 in France, which was absent from the calendar last year, Alpine wants to return to the form they showed in Spain and Portugal, but they are aware that they will have to improve their race pace that is not as good as in qualifying.
“I always enjoy racing in France. I’ve had some good results in Formula 1 and in other motorsport categories in this country, but Circuit Paul Ricard is actually a track I don’t know so well as I’ve only raced here once in Formula 1,” said Alonso.
“The track has been resurfaced with some small tweaks to help improve the racing, so we’ll assess that early in the weekend. The circuit has quite a few high-speed sections and Turn 10 will be fun in these modern Formula 1 cars.”
“There are quite a few runoff areas around the circuit which means any mistakes are less likely to punished by barriers either side of you. This will be different to what we experienced at both Monaco and Baku and hopefully we can put on a show for the fans.”
Alonso said that he watched the onboard footage from the last few laps in Baku several times, but warns that Alpine has to improve their race pace.
“It was a lot of fun and I’ve watched the onboard back quite a few times. We were quite lucky that the red flag brought everyone back for a standing restart, but we were given the opportunity and we seized it.”
“You have to capitalise on these moments in a season. Our tyre choice after the red flag was smart and we seemed to have immediate grip on the first lap of the restart so we could try some bold moves into Turn 1. Then overtaking into Turn 5 is not normally where you can make a move, but we did it and made it stick.”
“Looking back on the Sunday, our overall pace was a little poor during the race, so we need to look at why that was the case. I was happy to come away with some solid points in Baku, it was a well-deserved result for the team.”
Executive Director Marcin Budkowski admits that Alpine is currently working on their race pace and hope to find some solutions soon enough.
“We have work to do to understand our race pace deficit and it’s something we’re actively investigating,” said Budkowski.
“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.”