‘Fireworks at Alpine’ and can they break the Big Three?

Total-Motorsport.com take a closer look at what to expect from Alpine ahead of the 2023 Formula 1 season

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It’s an all French driver line-up at Alpine for the 2023 Formula 1 season as Pierre Gasly joins the team alongside Esteban Ocon.

Ocon managed to finish ahead of Fernando Alonso in the championship and is spending his fourth season with the team, whilst Gasly has moved from AlphaTauri to replace the two-time world champion.

The pair have not had the best of relationships over the last decade due to an incident during their karting days. However, both feel they can put it behind them as teammates at Alpine.

Total-Motorsport.com journalists Adam Dickinson, Andrew Wright, Ed Spencer and Nigel Chiu take a look at what to expect from Alpine in 2023.

Ed Spencer: Alpine need to break the Big Three’s monopoly

El Plan is now Le Plan. Out go Alonso and expected new signing Oscar Piastri and in comes Gasly to form an all-French superteam with Ocon who begins his fourth season at the Anglo-French outfit.

Both drivers and team know how to win races in F1 and with the massive budget behind them, 2023 needs to be the year where Alpine start to break the Big Three’s monopoly on the sport.

That will only be possible if they improve on their wretched reliability record which drove Alonso out of the door, as well as their one lap pace on some tracks.

Otmar Szafnauer will need to hope these issues are rectified and Alpine do improve, otherwise it could be another testing year at a time when some wonder what the team’s future will be.

Adam Dickinson: Fireworks between Gasly and Ocon

Fireworks. Ocon and Gasly have history that goes all the way back to karting in France, and they reportedly weren’t on speaking terms until recently.

Throw in Ocon’s form of racing his teammates harder than any other driver on the grid and there’s a lot of potential for combustion at some point in 2023.

Still, Alpine have two talented drivers and finally seem to be pulling in the right direction as a team.

I think they will remain the midfield leader and may even close the gap to the front, but if Mercedes make the step forward I expect them to, Alpine’s gains may not reflect in the standings.

Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly | Alpine F1 team

Andrew Wright: Alpine will snatch the odd podium here and there

Even though they eventually prevailed in the battle for fourth with McLaren in 2022, Alpine had far and away the better car. They were hampered by poor reliability and a raft of teammate clashes but that can’t happen to the same extent in 2023, can it?

Gasly and Ocon have history, of course, but their older and wiser and surely will have had it drummed into them that anything untoward won’t be tolerated. 

As Christian Horner said last year, it’s better to have a quick car and improve the reliability than a slow car that always finishes. With that in mind I expect Alpine to push on and improve on the 173 points of 2022 and even snatch the odd podium here and there to finish comfortably in fourth.

Otmar Szafnauer helps unveils the Alpine AE23 in London.

Nigel Chiu: Questions about drivers and management, excellent technical team

Gasly and Ocon are not up to the standard of the best drivers in F1, so that will always put a question mark in my head this year when judging Alpine.

I expect them to be evenly matched, but for Ocon‘s race pace to make the difference and put him just in front in the overall battle. It’s going to be fun to watch I’m sure.

I’m also not keen on Alpine‘s management too but my word the technical team pulled it out of the bag when I understood there were big concerns heading into the start of last season.

My prediction? Alpine will build the best midfield car, thanks to the technical excellence led by Pat Fry and Matt Harman and, and be on the tails of the frontrunning teams, with a couple podiums coming their way.

Nigel Chiuhttps://total-motorsport.com/author/nigel-chiu/
Nigel Chiu is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who worked at Total-Motorsport for 18 months until May 2023. He has been following F1 since 2007 and hasn’t missed a Grand Prix weekend since. Nigel’s worked with several motorsport websites, plus Eurosport and subsequently went on to work with Sky Sports F1 where he travels to multiple F1 races each season.
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