Marcin Budkowski, the Executive Director of the Alpine F1 Team, says there is work to do by the team to find performance in hotter conditions after struggling during the daytime running of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend last month.
When conditions cooled down, such as in second practice on Friday, Qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday, Alpine were able to unlock some of its potential. However, during Friday’s first practice and Saturday’s final practice, they again struggled.
Alpine failed to score points in Bahrain, with Esteban Ocon surviving contact with Sebastian Vettel to finish thirteenth and Fernando Alonso retiring, but Budkowski admits there was a lot of disappointment and concerns in the performance of the A521 when the temperatures rose at the desert track.
“It’s fair to say we’re less happy with the car in the hot sessions,” Budkowksi is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “FP3 [in Bahrain] was a bit more difficult for us, and we got back to a level of competitiveness that is more representative in the evening sessions, so FP2 and qualifying.
“The temperature has been quite extreme. It was hotter than during the test. I sat on the pit wall in the beginning of FP3 and it was 38ºC, I think 47-48ºC track temperature. That’s way hotter than it was two weeks before at the test.
“Obviously they’re the same for everyone, but you will have different cars reacting differently to these conditions. We scared ourselves a little bit, it’s fair to say, on Friday morning. We were looking a bit uncompetitive and it’s good to get back to somewhere a bit more competitive.
“We’re still a bit short of two-or-three-tenths to actually be fighting with the people we aim to fight with.”
Budkowski is not expecting the same kind of problems to face Alpine in the upcoming events in Italy and Portugal, but he is worried that if they are not sorted out before the summer, the team may struggle when the temperature rises.
“We have a bit of homework on understanding why we’re seemingly less competitive in the hot sessions than in the evening sessions,” added Budkowski. “I don’t think it’s going to be a problem in Imola or Portugal but could become a thing again in the summer months.”