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Alonso excited by Alpine engine: We've made a big step

Fernando Alonso may be on his fourth engine of the 2022 season after just eight races, but the Spaniard says Alpine are "in control" and have made a big step forward with their power unit.

Fernando Alonso believes that Alpine have made a "big step forward" with the performance of their power unit after the Spaniard proved impossible to pass during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The 40-year-old was able to turn 10th on the grid into a seventh-place finish in Baku, capitalising on problems for Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc and Yuki Tsunoda. He did so with a car rapid in a straight line: handy for a track with the longest straight on F1's 2022 calendar. That top speed hinged greatly on set-up, but the newfound strength of the Alpine power unit also played a part, says Alonso. "Nobody passed me!" he celebrated as he chatted to the media in Baku, including RacingNews365.com . "They were opening their DRS (Drag Reduction System) and I was still pulling away, so that was a very good thing. "We are better. We have more power; more deployment. We are strong in circuits like this. "Last year, we were struggling a lot in Baku, and this year we are competitive, so I think we've made a very big step forward."

Reliability concerns are no more for Alpine

The season started with concern for Alpine's power unit after repeat failures left the team appearing destined for engine penalties. The Spaniard has used four already. However, Alonso is confident that the French squad are now "in control" of the situation with a number of those used power units in their pool, ready to be used again. "Reliability was a concern at the beginning of the year, and actually I'm on the fourth engine in eight races, but I think now we are in control of the situation. I'm happy," he added. "It's a good feeling. We change the concept, we change the layout, we change everything. It's performing well, so I'm happy and I'm happy with the team effort."

How much did Alpine's set-up dictate top speed?

Much of the reason Alpine were so fast in Baku was thanks to their set-up decisions. Those choices left Alonso paying the price through the corners, but made him near-impossible to catch down the straights. The next race in Canada offers the team a similar challenge, with the Montreal circuit carrying a mighty straight but a number of low-speed corners. "We went for what we thought was the best for us and for our car," Alonso explained. "Obviously, if you compare relative to the others, it seems that we were very fast on the straight and a little bit struggling on the corners, and probably more tyre degradation because of that. "But in Canada, let's see what configuration we choose. Maybe not this one because this is quite extreme, but our car likes normally likes low downforce."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix