Marcin Budkowski says there is a ‘good buzz’ within the Alpine F1 Team ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix after Esteban Ocon’s stunning, but surprising, victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix at the beginning of the month.
Budkowski, the Executive Director at Alpine, says the team will now work harder to achieve their goals after tasting victory at the Hungaroring, and the aim for them is to become regular contenders for wins in the future with both Ocon and Fernando Alonso.
“We head to Spa on the back of winning the last Grand Prix before the summer break, which, clearly, was not something we were expecting!” said Budkowski. “It wasn’t a win based on full, outright performance as some external circumstances contributed, but the opportunity came to us and we were there to grab it – in style – as we led 67 of the 70 laps of the race.
“Even though a few weeks have passed since the Hungarian Grand Prix, there is still a good buzz within the team as we are heading to Belgium. It was also fantastic to see Esteban bounce back after a few difficult races and score his first Grand Prix win.
“It’s a very important milestone for the Team and a huge morale boost for everybody in Enstone and Viry. Now we know how good victory tastes, we will work even harder to achieve our goals and become a regular contender in the future.”
As good as the result in Hungary was, Budkowski knows it is important Alpine remain realistic with their ambitions across the remainder of the season. Alpine will bring low downforce wings to both the Belgian and Italian Grand Prix, but the team have already stopped the development of their A521 as they focus on their all-new 2022 car.
“We remain realistic for Spa as we know it’s a circuit that is less suited to our package,” said Budkowski. “Even if we stopped the A521 development a while ago, we will still bring specific low downforce wings for Spa and Monza, which are high speed circuits.
“Spa is one of those places where the weather can bring some unpredictability and the weather forecast for this weekend seems to confirm this. This could create good opportunities to shine for our drivers, as Esteban has shown his ability in the wet in the past, and Fernando’s racecraft and experience is an asset in tricky conditions.
“We aim to be in a position where we can capitalise on any opportunity.”
Budkowski says the summer shutdown has given the team the chance to rest after a busy first half of the season, but he knows the hard work is still to come, particularly when Belgium is the first of three races across consecutive weekends that will also see Grand Prix in both the Netherlands and Italy.
“The summer shutdown allowed team members to rest and disconnect, which was well deserved after an intense first half of the season but also necessary to cope with the second half, which looks even busier,” said Budkowski.
“With a triple header across Belgium-Netherlands-Italy to start with, the factory has been busy either side of the break to get everything prepared. There is still some uncertainty on the calendar with race cancellations and Covid restrictions, so we have to remain flexible and ready for any race sequence.”