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Alpine set for “promising” upgrades - Budkowski

Alpine set for “promising” upgrades - Budkowski

F1 News

Alpine set for “promising” upgrades - Budkowski

Alpine set for “promising” upgrades - Budkowski

Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski has promised Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon a number of upgrades for upcoming races after testing new parts during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend.

Alpine, which was re-branded from Renault this season, scored its first points in Imola but has dropped down the order after seeing midfield rivals Ferrari and McLaren make impressive winter steps.

Budkowski admitted the team is playing catch-up but of the coming developments he said: “We have a number of test items for evaluation [and] subject to the analysis that is ongoing it looks promising.

“Going into the [pre-season] test, we knew we experienced some headwind during the winter with some of the regulation changes but also we had a few issues in the wind tunnel that slowed us in terms of development.

“We knew we didn’t have the best possible winter. Therefore, we weren’t expecting miracles. We were expecting to be on the back foot in terms of pace [and] testing confirmed that.

“Interestingly, we ended up pretty much where we thought we would end up but we got it wrong with some of the cars that were in front of us and some of the cars that ended up behind us.”

Renault achieved three podiums last season during a tight fight for third in the championship and, as Alpine, the team had hoped the return of Alonso to the fold would help in its quest for third again this season.

However, after no score in the season-opening Bahrain race and just ninth and tenth places in Imola, the team is currently seventh, with three points compared to the 41 of third-placed McLaren and the 34 of fourth-placed Ferrari.

Budkowski said the sum of the upgrades are progressive developments that have been in the pipeline from the start of the year while others are a direct reaction to the team's performances in Bahrain.

Speaking in Imola he explained: “In terms of reaction, most of the upgrades were planned already, you don’t re-do a front wing or things in two weeks, they were just our planned upgrades.

“Some of the other things we are testing here are the results of the Bahrain test and the race. We are pushing hard to try to improve our performance and it’s clear from the number of upgrades we are bringing here.

“But first of all, we are further behind than we would like to be, so it’s going to take a bit more than a few upgrades, and then I don’t expect everyone else is waiting for us to bring upgrades.

“Everybody is going to improve their car, so it’s a relative race. It looks like the car is going to progress with the upgrades we’re bringing but we’ve got more work to do in the next few races to bring a bit more.”

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