Damon Hill believes that Alpine have been struggling to match their rivals in terms of developing their car, resulting in a season of mixed fortunes.
The French manufacturer have displayed promise at times during the 2021 season, with the high point being Esteban Ocon's win at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
However, the team have scored only one point in the last two races and Hill admits he has been left slightly disappointed by their recent performances.
"Not too impressive," Hill told the F1 Nation podcast when discussing Alpine's double DNF at the United States Grand Prix.
"[It's a] shame really, because they were looking quite punchy at one point. I thought they were on the move.
"They're still struggling a little bit to keep up with the pace of the development of the other guys."
With the raft of new regulations being introduced into the sport in 2022, Hill thinks this could be where Alpine's true form becomes clear.
"We're going to have to wait for next year's car for 2022 – which was the 2021 car [before the new regulations were pushed back by one year] – and see what they come up with," the 1996 World Champion said.
Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi recently stated that the outfit have set themselves the target of competing at the front of the field within 100 races, meaning that they plan to regularly be on the podium by 2024.
Fernando Alonso has expressed his hopes that the squad can achieve this feat much sooner, but also stressed that they need to take it "step by step".
After the team's difficult weekend in Austin, Hill joked of the 100-race goal: "Well they started at the bottom, so they can only go forward from there."
Alpine currently hold fifth place in the Constructors' Championship with 104 points, whilst rivals AlphaTauri are only 10 points behind in sixth.
It's time for the latest episode of the RacingNews365 podcast, with F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Thomas Maher and Mike Seymour discussing the tense strategy battle between Mercedes and Red Bull and much, much more from the United States Grand Prix.