Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi has blamed the sidepod explosion suffered by Esteban Ocon during Bahrain Grand Prix practice on a "possibly defective prototype" component.
The season got off to the worst possible start for Ocon as the right-hand sidepod of the A522 ripped itself away from its fixings just seven minutes into the first practice session of the year, leaving a shower of debris behind him.
The French manufacturer had arrived at the first round of the year with an update to its sidepods but was immediately forced to revert to the old-specification parts as a precaution.
New team principal Otmar Szafnauer initially explained it was likely to be a "one-off" issue but having looked over the problem, Rossi said: "It looks like we are angling towards a possibly defective prototype part.
"The problem is, the piece we suspect is defective, we didn't recover it, it is somewhere on the track. We are pretty sure it is the problem."
Ahead of the race at the Bahrain International Circuit, Fernando Alonso qualified eighth, with Ocon lining up 11th.
Addressing the A522's performance overall, Rossi insisted he was "pleasantly surprised versus the last report from two weeks ago".
He added: "At the same time, we have been working towards that so I am not that surprised and I think the two cars are in a slightly different position at the moment so let's see."