Formula 1 | Szafnauer: Alpine F1 takes a positive balance before Hungary and the summer

A year ago, Alpine F1 and Esteban Ocon took a historic first Formula 1 win at the Hungarian Grand Prix, following a thrilling and incident-filled race at the Hungaroring.

After lifting both their cars to the points at home in France, the team enters this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix aiming to continue their momentum, as explained by team principal Otmar Szafnauer.

Is the team satisfied to have scored points with both their cars during the home Grand Prix?

“It was not an easy weekend as everyone had to deal with the high temperatures. After a difficult Friday, during which we were not particularly competitive, we worked well as a team, in a precise direction, and found good ways to improve for Saturday. At the end of qualifying we felt we were well prepared for the race, able to get a good result with both our cars and above all to beat McLaren, our direct rival, who had made some interesting developments which they were allowed to win. in competitiveness. Our race pace was good again, and we know that’s where the points come from. Fernando had a flawless race. A good start to pass to Lando [Norris] it was our plan. Then from there, he handled everything perfectly, as always. Esteban did a good job forgetting a complex Friday. He took a good step forward in terms of performance, which allowed him to return with four earned runs thanks, in particular, to two beautiful passes from Daniel. [Ricciardo] to the other McLaren. A race at home, two cars in the points and fourth place in the championship, we can talk about a job well done! “.

Last year, the team won its first Grand Prix in Hungary under the Alpine name. What is reasonable to aim for this year?

“It is very exciting to return to Budapest, scene of the team’s first victory under the Alpine name. At that time, I was in the competition and I remember a fascinating race. I was very happy that Esteban won, a test that you can never say never in Formula 1. That’s what makes this sport so great. Anything can happen, and to be successful, you must always be “never give up”. Who knows, it could happen again… We will strive to be able to take advantage of any potential opportunities that may present themselves this weekend. The team will welcome his return to Hungary, which will bring back fond memories. »

How do you rate the first part of the season before the summer holidays?

“We are reasonably happy with the first half of the 2022 season. At the start of the year, with the rule change, different cars and the desire to offer more masculine and tight racing on the track, it was a bit of a leap forward to the unknown I think there’s still a long way to go to reach the ultimate goal of seeing wheel-to-wheel, corner-to-corner duels, but we’ve seen great racing in most Grands Prix. In terms of our performance, we are well placed to achieve our goal for the season, which is fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship. We usually have the fourth fastest car, although we haven’t used and demonstrated that potential as much as we would have liked. »

“Having said that, we are learning and developing the car at a rapid pace, thanks to the hard work of everyone in the team, at Enstone and Viry, who are making sure we move forward. I strongly believe in our ability to achieve the our goals at the end of the season. For now, we are focused on the Hungarian Grand Prix, where we want to confirm our good result last weekend in France. We want to spend the summer holidays with a sense of accomplishment, but also eager to take the point to the Belgian championship and beyond. »

Where can the team still improve to reach their goal for the season?

“First of all, we have to maintain our high pace of development and introduce changes to the car on a regular basis. We have a development schedule in place and so far we’re doing great work on time, with some new items coming to the A522. We don’t tend to dwell on the “ifs”, “buts” and “maybes”, because only the results on the court count. We haven’t had many clear weekends for various reasons, costing us valuable points at times. We have to maximize our potential at every Grand Prix and it’s up to us, every person on this team, to contribute to that effort. We are doing a good job and we have to keep working at this level. »

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