Formula 1

Alpine’s Otmar Szafnauer: “We leave here disappointed in the fact we only had one car see the chequered flag”

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Credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team

Otmar Szafnauer, the Team Principal of the BWT Alpine F1 Team, has remarked that he and his team leave the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez “disappointed”, after the team was cruelly denied a double points finish following Fernando Alonso’s late retirement from the Mexico City Grand Prix.

Alpine’s failure to secure a double points finish was further compounded by McLaren F1 Team’s success on Sunday, allowing the Woking-based team to reduce the gap between the two constructors to just seven points, in the tightly contested battle for fourth in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship Constructors’ Standings.

Alonso had looked set for a seventh-place finish until the Spaniard lost a cylinder on the engine of his A522. The two-time World Champion would allow Esteban Ocon to pass him on lap sixty, as the Spaniard struggled to deal with the damage sustained to his engine.

Alonso’s race would come to a premature end four laps later, as the Alpine team deemed the damage on his A522 to be too severe. Szafnauer revealed that despite the team’s best effort to keep Alonso in the race, the damage to the engine was simply “not sustainable” to keep running in the Grand Prix.

“This race was always going to prove challenging with the unique conditions in Mexico City and we leave here disappointed in the fact we only had one car see the chequered flag. Unfortunately, Fernando suffered a cylinder failure on lap 52 and he was having to manage on five cylinders – meaning a significant lack of power – to try and remain inside the points. Eventually the problem was not sustainable, and he had to retire the car.

Ocon would benefit from Alonso allowing the Frenchman to pass him on lap sixty, but in the very next lap, the fast-moving Daniel Ricciardo was able to overtake his former team-mate on the start/finish straight to claim seventh-place on the road.

Ricciardo’s ten-second time penalty, for his earlier collision with Yuki Tsunoda, would not affect the final standings as the Australian managed to race ahead on the Soft tyre to open up a gap of more than ten seconds, leaving Ocon with an eighth-placed finish.

Szafnauer spoke on how his French driver had suffered early on in the race with cooling issues but did compliment his resilience to come home for the eight-place finish.

Esteban faced a challenge with some cooling issues from quite early on in the race where he had to lift and coast and therefore, he sacrificed significant lap time. He did well to bring the car home in eighth place and score some valuable points for the team.

With two races remaining in the 2022 Formula 1 season, seven points separate McLaren and Alpine in the Constructors’ Standings, Szafnauer knows that the team cannot afford a repeat of their Mexican City Grand Prix in the remaining races.

We know reliability is going to be the key in our championship battle and it’s something that has let us down after showing such a strong level of performance in recent races. I’m confident we can rectify these issues going into the final two races of the season.”

Credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team

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