Szafnauer: Team “working hard” after scathing CEO comments

The French team currently sit in sixth in the constructors' championship, behind midfield rivals McLaren.

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Alpine Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer has said that the team is working hard to improve the car, following strong words from the CEO about the progress and attitude of the team.

Laurent Rossi slammed Alpine on French TV, criticising a “lack of performance and a lack of rigour” from the Britain-based F1 team.

Rossi also added that the display at the season opener in Bahrain was amateurish, speaking about the amount of time penalties distributed from the steward room to Esteban Ocon.

Szafnauer initially responded to the comments by saying that they add no pressure to the team, that is striving to improve, and he reinforced those comments at the Monaco GP.

“We’re working hard to make sure that we deliver on improving this year’s car as best as we can.” Szafnauer said to the media.

“I think we did a good job last year with in-season improvements, and we have to do the same again.”

“I think we’re not happy because we’re not Red Bull, however within our immediate competition, we have made gains on both Ferrari and Mercedes.”

“So we hit most of our targets, but not all of them over the winter.”

‘Huge team effort’

Alpine currently sits sixth in the Constructor’s standings having registered five points finishes in 2023 and tends to be “best of the rest”, on pace, behind the front four teams.

Although they sit below McLaren heading into the Monaco weekend, the team has finished in the points more often.

McLaren jumped above Alpine following the Australian GP, when their drivers crashed into each other and retired, as Alpine’s rivals enjoyed the spoils of the crash to finish 6th and 8th.

Alpine then endured another challenging weekend in Azerbaijan as both cars finished out of points and experienced poor reliability on Pierre Gasly‘s A523 car.

Rossi threatened that he would “make changes” at Alpine, seemingly threatening Szafnauer’s job security, if results did not improve.

The Canadian team principal said that changes are being made, but that they will take time owing to development restrictions in the modern F1 regulations.

“Changes were in progress already, it just takes time.” Szafnauer said to the media.

“We all know this is a huge team effort, and we have very talented engineers that work really hard within the regulations.

“We’re capped on 80 hours, we’re capped on how much time we can spend in the [wind] tunnel or CFD.

“It’s not a matter of working harder, or working more, like it was in the past.

“It’s a matter of quality, and getting the right quality takes time. We’ve got the right plans in place.”

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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