Alpine's Fernando Alonso has said that the performance of the team's 2021 challenger isn't quite where the Enstone-based squad had hoped it would be.
Making his comeback to Formula 1 this season with the former Renault team, Alonso has struggled for pace over the first two Grand Prix. Alpine's A521 hasn't been particularly fast in either Bahrain or Imola, and the Spaniard said it's a situation that's not likely to change much.
Asked about whether the team can achieve regular Q3 finishes this season, Alonso explained it's not easy to answer.
"I guess it is a difficult question that everyone tries to to answer right now I think the performance of the car is not maybe in the place we wanted to be," Alonso told media, including RacingNews365, ahead of the Portuguese GP.
"Fighting for Q3, we have no margin at the moment, there is very tight group in the midfield. As we knew, two or three tenths can make you finish in seventh or eighth or 14th or 15th.
"We are in that group and we have no margin at all. So if everything goes well in the weekend, we can fight in the higher part of that group. If something goes wrong in that weekend, you fall back quite easily. So here is the way I think is going to be the whole season.
"This is a season, in a way, to prepare for 2022. We are working on that front but, at the same time, we have to race every two weeks. And we have to deliver the best thing we can with the package available."