Welcome at RacingNews365

Become part of the largest racing community in the United Kingdom. Create your free account now!

  • Share your thoughts and opinions about F1
  • Win fantastic prizes
  • Get access to our premium content
  • Take advantage of more exclusive benefits
Sign in
Alpine F1 Team

F1 2023 season review: Alpine has a turbulent year and needs to search for stability

When will Alpine step up to the top after all? That pressing question lingers after a tumultuous season from which the French team undoubtedly expected more. Alpine finished sixth in the Constructors' Championship and stood out mainly because of the many changes in management.

Gasly Abu Dhabi
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

When Alpine launched the A523 at a glitzy event in London, they made their intentions clear: more podiums for 2023.

The 2022 season was a year of unfulfilled potential, despite the fact that they managed to scrape fourth in the Constructors' Championship. Now they end this year further back in sixth place on just 120 points, having finished on the podium twice - one of which was at Monaco.

It was looking like a promising year for Alpine, but instead it was married with school-boy errors, poor on track performance, and senior leadership changes behind the scenes.

It was immediately clear in Bahrain that it would be tough for the team to regularly finish on the podium, having ended the race 73 seconds off Max Verstappen.

Rubbing the salt in the wounds was seeing Fernando Alonso's podium success in the Aston Martin, a direct competitor of Alpine in 2022.

McLaren's poor start of the season might have given them a glimmer of hope, but the team failed to replicate their turnaround midway through the season.

Things did not improve when both Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly suffered hydraulic issues at races in Great Britain and Azerbaijan, which the team traced back to a supplier part issue.

Add to that the rift behind the scenes between senior management and you arrive at the unwritten rule in F1: chaos in management is always reflected on the track.

CEO Laurent Rossi, Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer and longtime 'Team Enstone' Sporting Director Alan Permane all left once they reached the Belgium Grand Prix.

They were each replaced by Philippe Krief, Bruno Famin and Julian Rousse, respectively. Will this new arrangement bring them more success in 2024? You would hope it at least gets them out of no mans land.

Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly

Prior to 2023, there was also the question of whether the new lineup would provide stability.

Fernando Alonso had closed the door hard behind him and was replaced by Pierre Gasly, a driver whose feud with Esteban Ocon goes all the way back to their days in karting.

Gasly was quick to quash any suggestions that this would lead to tensions on track between the two, but it did not stop things from boiling over on occasion.

The pair threw away a double points finish when they collided in the final moments of the chaotic Australian Grand Prix. This would rare its head again at the Japanese GP, when the team instructed Ocon to pass Gasly at the finish line after a poor strategy decision.

At the end of the season Gasly would settle qualifying 14-9 in his favor, while Ocon "won" races 10-9.

That last statistic immediately exposes a new Alpine pain point: reliability. In Australia, Great Britain and Hungary both drivers failed to see the finish flag, and in total Ocon and Gasly crashed out no less than 10 times.

Highlights did occur in Monaco and the Netherlands. Ocon had a particularly strong weekend in Monaco, finishing in third place in qualifying and the race, while Gasly did everything right in treacherous conditions at Zandvoort to come home third.

Stability is going to be the deciding factor

The buzzword being thrown around Alpine is their "100-race plan" to get back into their winning ways and challenge for titles, something they have struggled to replicate since the glory days with Alonso in 2005 and 2006.

The A523 had a weight advantage heading into 2023, which enabled the team to add new parts without thinking about how it would impact performance.

Aston Martin and McLaren have shown this current regulation cycle can enable teams to turn midfield tuggers into podium challengers. But Alpine will need to ensure there is enough stability behind the scenes and people making the right decisions to achieve their objectives.

Team boss Famin believes this will be key when speaking to media, including RacingNews365: "The truth is that we're not where we want it to be. But I think with the change we made midseason, we un-tapped some potential on the people [within the team].

"I think the people are much more free to propose things to improve. Especially on the trackside, immediately I saw that change in mindset.

"Of course, the car is still not the one we would like, but we've scored more points per-race in the second half of the season than in the first.

"I'm happy with that, but we need to keep pushing to develop this momentum. Now that the season is over, which was very tough, I will be able to dedicate more time to the factory in Enstone.

"The idea is to develop the potential of the full team, to develop the potential of the car and to get better results."

Don't miss out on any of the F1 action thanks to this handy 2024 F1 calendar that can be easily loaded into your smartphone or PC.

Download our F1 calendar

F1 2023 season reviews RN365 News dossier

0 comments

Pos. Driver Points
Pos. Team Points
Full standings
x
LATEST Horner investigation outcome expected this week