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Alpine's plan to carry mighty Alonso pace into Imola

Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer says the pace shown by Fernando Alonso in Australia was "real" and will be replicated elsewhere, in a warning to his team's midfield rivals.

Otmar Szafnauer believes the high-speed Imola circuit will suit Alpine's car, and has confirmed that the team will be bringing upgrades to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso put the "true" pace of the A522 on display during qualifying for the Australian GP, says Szafnauer, when he almost delivered an electric push-lap. That lap had him on course for the front row, but it was not to be, with hydraulic problems late in the lap having left him skidding into the barrier. On race day, Alonso was dealt yet more rotten luck and was the last car to take the chequered flag – but the pace of his Alpine car is up there with the best, team boss Szafnauer has assured the media, including RacingNews365.com .

Alpine: Alonso will be just as quick at other races

"It's real, it can't be unreal. [Albert Park] has characteristics that other circuits have too, so we will be quick in other places," said Szafnauer. The nature of the circuits that fill Alpine with confidence make clear the strengths of the A522, which fared far better at high-speed Saudi Arabia than it did in Bahrain. Through the super-fast Sector 2 at Albert Park, Alonso's Alpine was the quickest car on track and showed the performance to eclipse that of Ferrari and Red Bull – and that bodes well for Imola. "Our car is strong in some areas, and it's not weak in anything, but it's less strong in others. Australia and Saudi [were] pretty good; Imola will be good," Szafnauer added.

Alpine confirm they will bring upgrades to Imola

Imola will also mark the beginning of F1's development race, with upgrades tipped by some to be more important than ever this season, given the dramatic change in regulations. Alpine will be looking to keep pace with their rivals by bringing modifications of their own. "I wouldn't be surprised if everyone brings upgrades to Imola," continued Szafnauer. "It seems, in my 25 years of doing this, for whatever reason, the first European races [are] where everyone finds upgrades. It used to be Barcelona, now it's Imola. "It's our fourth race as well, so around the fourth or fifth race everyone brings upgrades. So, we too will be bringing upgrades."

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