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Szafnauer still in dark over where Alpine rank in F1 midfield

It was a troubled weekend for Alpine in Bahrain, with both Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon suffering from problems at key stages.

Alpine Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer has admitted he doesn't know where the team rank in Formula 1's midfield after a topsy-turvy Bahrain Grand Prix weekend. New signing Pierre Gasly started last after a track limits violation saw his Q1 time deleted in Sakhir but raced to ninth in the race, whereas P9 starter Esteban Ocon endured a triple-penalty laden race and eventually retired to save the engine. As a result, Szafnauer believes Alpine's true level is still hidden as the likes of Aston Martin have made a giant leap forward towards the so-called 'big three teams.'

Szafnauer unsure of Alpine position

"This race was not a normal race for us, we usually don't make these operational type mistakes," Szafnauer explained to media including RacingNews365.com. "Unfortunately, Pierre started last so he's not really a good barometer to say where we could have finished. "If we did a normal race from ninth [with Ocon], I think Lance [Stroll] was just ahead of us, and the question to me is: 'If we had a normal race, could we have beaten him? Where could we have been?' "I don't know that yet, but we've got to reflect on this and do better. "It is not where we want to be, but I think we're capable of doing better than most people think, so we still have to do it.

Congratulations to Aston Martin

Szafnauer's former team - Aston Martin - have leapfrogged Alpine and are now among the trio of teams trying to catch Red Bull. The Alpine boss does not see it as a surprise given the team's history - and pointed out their use of the Mercedes wind-tunnel. "They've made the jump, and to be fair to them, it's always been a good and efficient team," he said. "The Mercedes wind-tunnel is a very good one and I don't think you're penalised by sharing. If you were penalised by sharing, then people wouldn't share. "So whether you have your own [wind-tunnel] or you're sharing, there's no significant difference, so congratulations to them. "What we've got to look at is we've got to beat them too. "But we should look at how close are we relative to pole from last year? How close are we on race pace and where we could have finished had we not had our operational issues. "Relative to those, was it better than last year? Because what we need to do is every year catch up, and yeah, Aston made huge improvements and we've got to fix it."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Qualifying