Formula 1

Alpine’s Marcin Budkowski: “Monaco has put a brief halt in our progression”

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Credit: Alpine F1 Team

Marcin Budkowski, the Executive Director of the Alpine F1 Team, admitted it was a ‘poor’ Monaco Grand Prix for the outfit, particularly on the back of two promising races in Portugal and Spain.

Alpine had appeared to have found some speed in their A521 at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, but that speed appeared to drop away when they took to the track at the Circuit de Monaco.

Esteban Ocon was able to salvage two points for a ninth-place finish in Monaco, but team-mate Fernando Alonso found himself eliminated in Q1 on Saturday and only thirteenth in the race.

“After two promising races in Portugal and Spain, Monaco has put a brief halt in our progression,” said Budkowski.  “It was generally a poor showing, and there’s no hiding from that as a team.

“While we managed to score points, we’re not satisfied with our relative performance compared to our main competitors. Some of the teams we’ve been fighting closely with recently were clearly more competitive than us and took a big reward for that.

“We’ll take forward our learnings, some of which will naturally be related to Baku, another street circuit with the same compound of tyres as Monaco. We’ve used the days in between to regroup at Enstone and Viry, to learn and move forward.”

Budkowski admits that Alpine did not bring together everything they needed to give Ocon and Alonso the confidence to fully attack in Monaco, and they will learn to come to race weekends better prepared in the future.

“We didn’t manage to realise the performance of our car package and of the tyres,” he said.  “On the streets of Monaco, everything needs to come together to give the driver confidence and extract the lap-time.

“Admittedly, we managed to find some pace in qualifying with Esteban, but it came too late in the weekend to make the most of it. A big part of the success is in the preparation and we did not get that quite right last weekend.”

Turning his attention to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Budkowski says Alpine will be bringing a small update package to the Baku City Circuit, and he hopes the team can show themselves to be competitive again and be in the right place to capitalise on any issues ahead of them.

“Baku is also a street circuit, but with a significantly lower downforce level than Monaco because of the long straights and high-speed sections,” said Budkowski.  “We have a small upgrade package, as per our development plan, so it’s been a busy week at the factory to have everything ready.

“All the while, we’ve conducted rigorous analysis and simulations to make sure we go to Baku with the best possible understanding of what our issues were in Monaco to ensure they don’t affect us again.

“We’ve seen some eventful races in Baku in the past, so it’s important to be able to make the most of any race events and capitalise on them. The aim is to be as close as possible to the front to benefit from any kind of attrition.”

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