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Alpine F1 Team

Szafnauer to speak with CEO Rossi over Alpine 'amateur' blast

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi had branded the team's start to 2023 as "amateurish" following various mishaps.

Rossi Szafnauer
To news overview © XPBimages

Alpine Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer says he will be seeking discussions with CEO Laurent Rossi after he branded the team's start to the 2023 Formula 1 season as "amateurish."

The Enstone squad have had a slow start to the campaign, featuring a horror weekend in Baku where they suffered a fire, a crash and were forced to start Esteban Ocon from the pit-lane, while he and Pierre Gasly collided in the Australian GP restart chaos.

Rossi claimed the team were not learning from their mistakes and that the performance in the Bahrain opener had a "lot of amateurishness" following the multiple penalties incurred by Ocon.

Szafnauer explained that he was not aware of the Rossi comments, but would be talking to his boss about them, while reiterating their desire to improve.

Szafnauer's Rossi talks

"Reading something like that in the paper puts no more pressure on, everyone wants to do well here," Szafnauer told media, including RacingNews365.com, of Rossi's comments made to French TV over the Miami weekend.

"They're well experienced technicians and engineers at the highest level, and we put pressure on ourselves so we just have to fix it.

"I have no idea [why the comments were made], you'll have to ask him, but I'll be asking him. This weekend was busy that I haven't had a chance yet.

"Look, we underperformed in Baku, the drivers ran into each other in Australia, and at the first race, we had a myriad of penalties starting with Esteban being out of place.

"It hasn't been a smooth start the season - I don't know, maybe that's why he made the comments.

"But I have to read them. All we can do is when we have issues like Baku is find and understand the root cause of what happened, and make sure we either put the process or the people in place, so that it doesn't happen again.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Extracting performance is 'hardest thing to do'

Alpine scored double points in Miami with eighth for Gasly and ninth for Ocon for their first points since Saudi Arabia - with only the two Red Bulls, two Ferraris, two Mercedes and Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso finishing ahead on a much-improved weekend for the team.

And Szafnauer believes extracting the performance from the car is "the hardest thing to do in Formula 1."

'We have to understand that the ultimate performance of the car really doesn't happen [at the track]," he said.

"The hardest thing to do in Formula 1 is make sure the car has ultimate performance, that doesn't happen here.

"There's 100 people here [at the track], there's 1000 [back at base] and 900 of them are working on performance, and half of this 100 are probably working on extracting [performance] and then have marketing people and others.

"So the lion's share of the work for car performance is back at Enstone and Viry, and here is just making sure we don't make mistakes, that there are no engine fires, that we don't have the wrong setup in a race where you only have one hour of practice.

"It is unfortunate that it happened in Baku, and I don't want to say it was a perfect storm, but had it happened here for example in FP1, by FP2, we would have fixed it and been okay for the whole weekend, but once you are in parc ferme, you can't change anything."

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