Fernando Alonso believes that the 2022 Formula 1 season will be a "long game" in terms of how the pecking order could develop.
Testing ahead of the new campaign is now complete, and there has been much discussion over which teams looked to have had the strongest few days in Barcelona and Bahrain.
In terms of Alpine's prospects, Alonso thinks that the direction the team needs to take will only become clearer after the opening Grands Prix.
"I think we have to wait and see how the first races develop, and see what we need from the car and from the package," Alonso told media including RacingNews365.com.
Optimism from Alonso over Alpine's future
Alonso is feeling positive about Alpine's prospects, though, and is realistic about the timescale that may be required for them to battle at the front.
"I'm optimistic, because the team is putting a huge effort into this programme," the Spaniard explained.
"We have the support from our president. We have the support from everyone at Renault, and Alpine came last year to Formula 1 also with the mind of this set of regulations, and [to] try to be a contender in the future.
"If the future will be 2022 or 2025, I have no idea, but it is this commitment and this view which I share and I embrace, for sure."
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2022 could be a 'long game' in development race
Following pre-season testing, Alonso thinks that Alpine completed a "good number of laps", and is looking forward to the first race of the year in Bahrain.
However, the double World Champion believes that the focus on development in 2022 could result in the fortunes of teams changing throughout the campaign.
This was something that Alpine experienced themselves in 2021, with some challenging races at the start of the season being followed by high points later in the year, such as Esteban Ocon's surprise win at the Hungarian Grand Prix and Alonso's podium in Qatar.
"In race one, let's see [what happens]," Alonso said.
"It's going to be a long game, I think, this year, because the rate of development is going to be huge, and there are 23 races.
"I remember last year, I retired the car here [in Bahrain], and Esteban was P12 or P13, so zero points after Bahrain, and then we won a race in Hungary. We were enjoying the season from [then] on.
"So I think this year is going to be a long game to play, and I'm confident that we will have a good season."
F1 Podcast: All you need to know after the second pre-season test
At the end of the first pre-season test of 2022 in Barcelona,
Dieter Rencken and Thomas Maher discuss the on- and off-track
developments in Bahrain.