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Alpine F1 Team

Why Alpine are looking forward to 'unpredictable' Baku

The unique layout of the Baku City Circuit is giving Alpine hope that they can secure a good result on the streets of Azerbaijan's capital.

Alonso Spain
To news overview © XPB

Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer is feeling upbeat on the Enstone team's prospects at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with the French outfit ready to take advantage of the unpredictable nature of the Baku City Circuit.

Just as at the season's previous Grand Prix in Monaco, the tight and twisting Sector 2 at Baku contains many slow corners, with the track's narrowest point measuring just 7.6 metres wide.

But unlike Monte Carlo, Baku's final sector is wide, expansive and almost entirely flat out, and the tendency towards drivers coming to grief against the street circuit's unforgiving barriers means that the Safety Car is frequently deployed, often changing the complexion of the race.

Team Principal Szafnauer is hopeful that his drivers could position themselves well to take advantage of any unexpected incidents.

"Since its introduction to the calendar, Baku has always provided unpredictability, as that is the pure nature of the circuit," said Szafnauer.

"It's a track that brings thrilling racing with overtaking opportunities aplenty, areas of risk and reward for the drivers, and there's always potential for big opportunities which we must aim to be in a position to take."

			© Alpine
	© Alpine

Alonso excited for Baku challenge

Fernando Alonso had a stellar final few laps in Baku last year, working his way up from 10th at the restart to sixth by the flag, and believes that overtaking is very much a feature of the circuit.

"Baku is a track where overtaking is very possible," Alonso explained.

"In my last three races there I've managed to gain a number of places during the race.

"There is a mixture of high-speed and low-speed corners and a very long straight, so set-up-wise you have to be prepared for this.

"It'll be interesting to see how the 2022 cars find this circuit. I can't really compare it to a track we've already raced on this year.

"Also, Saturdays don't necessarily decide your race there too, and a Safety Car can completely shake up the order.

"I think it'll be a fun one and for sure I'm excited for the challenge ahead!"

Ocon wary of set-up difficulties

Alonso's teammate Esteban Ocon, who retired early from last year's race with a turbo issue, is a fan of the Baku track, but believes that its contrasting sections make finding an ideal set-up difficult.

"It's a street circuit I enjoy, and we know that anything can happen there," said Ocon.

"We'll be seeing wheel-to-wheel action down the straights which is very exciting for a track like this, but we will need find a balance between the straight-line speed for the straights, and not taking too much downforce off to allow good lap time through some of the slower corners.

"A good set-up will be very important."

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