F1: Szafnauer talks about Alpine’s goal to win the title

F1: Szafnauer talks about Alpine’s goal to win the title

With only 78 races left to reach the goal of winning the title in System 1within the project defined by Alpine, team boss Otmar Szafnauer said that his team should be close to third place at the end of this year’s championship.

At the end of 2021, following Esteban Ocon’s victory in the Hungarian GP, ​​Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi spoke of a ‘Project of 100 races, four years, four seasons’, for the team to be in contention for F1 titles.

While some might argue that the countdown started at the start of the 2021 season, the team’s first year as Alpine, Szafnauer gave himself more freedom, considering the “clock” only started ticking when he joined the team.

That was at the start of the 2022 season, when the 58-year-old boss left Aston Martin for Alpine. So he thinks they have about 78 races to go to win the title.

“We have to take bigger steps towards our goal of winning the championship in 100 races,” Szafnauer said of the team in 2023, according to Motorsport.com.

“And I think we are less than 80 races now. 100 started in early 2022. So it has decreased to 80 so far. We should continue, but move closer to the third place. So even if we take the fourth place, we must make progress,” he said.

Having previously worked with British American Racing (BAR) in Formula 1, followed by a spell at Honda and then Force India, which became Racing Point before being renamed Aston Martin, Szafnauer has a good idea of ​​what works and what doesn’t. work. F1.

Arriving at Alpine in early 2022, Szafnauer’s first step was to align goals with team CEO Laurent Rossi and figure out what needs to be done to get there.

Szafnauer continued: “How are we going to fight for the championship in 100 races? What do we need? What tools do we need? What skills do we need to complement the ones we already have? So the deal was done.”

“I looked at this plan to find out all the features and now we are in the implementation. So there are some things that I came up with to say, ‘Look, I think we need more of this.’ And some things have already been done,” he said.

The biggest problem in Alpine’s program last season was engine reliability. While the power unit has often helped Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso score points, it has also let them down at times.

“We had reliability issues,” admitted Szafnauer. “And I’m looking forward to working on it. These changes are possible, although some problems were not related to the electric train, but to additional products (water pump, oil pump, etc.). But we need to rebuild and reform them.”

“I’m sure we can do this. So of course let’s get more points, but we also want to take one step further in terms of performance,” said Szafnauer. “And that’s more difficult for the power unit, because the development is frozen. So you need to understand the chassis, do a better job of developing the chassis, and have two drivers who can consistently close.

“We are not there yet. But in every decision we make, performance must come first. And that’s also a little bit about leadership, a little bit about what to focus on and a little bit about the fact that the engineering team has that direction as well,” he added.

“We are 900 employees. Everyone should have that orientation, and it takes time to spread that culture. But it goes a little faster when it starts at the top of the management team. If they start to behave this way, the rest of the organization will do the same”, concluded Szafnauer.