Fernando Alonso was placing collectively a nice lap in qualifying on the Australian Grand Prix when he crashed into the barrier – and that incident began the domino impact of a nightmare weekend for the two-time World Champion, based on crew boss Otmar Szafnauer.
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Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer believes that Fernando Alonso might have fought amongst the Ferrari and Purple Bull vehicles on race day in Australia had he not suffered his qualifying crash.
The 2-time World Champion was on his quickest lap of the weekend throughout Q3 when he skilled a transmission downside that noticed him hit the obstacles at Flip 11.
Consequently, Alonso was compelled to start out Sunday’s Grand Prix from tenth on the grid, with the crew needing to assume outdoors of the field with reference to his race technique.
The plan didn’t repay, although, because of a badly-timed Security Automotive leaving the driving force properly down the order. He ended the race down in seventeenth.
How good was Alonso's Q3 lap?
The sector occasions from Alonso’s incomplete Q3 lap left some questioning whether or not the Spaniard might have put himself on provisional pole place.
Alonso accomplished the monitor’s first two sectors in a time of 44.608 seconds, sufficient to, at that stage, put him on the right track to put P2 behind Verstappen, whose time got here in at 44.544 seconds.
However, with Verstappen having seemingly struggled with the slow-speed corners of Albert Park’s ultimate sector all weekend, Alonso would solely have wanted to remain inside a tenth of the Ferrari vehicles via sector three to stay in with an opportunity of locking in provisional pole.
This left Szafnauer questioning what might have been on Sunday.
“Had we certified the place we might have certified, it might have been a very totally different race for Fernando,” the Group Principal advised media, together with RacingNews365.com, after the Grand Prix.
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Because of his qualifying crash, Alpine opted to change Alonso onto an alternate technique that they hoped would enable him to push the automobile to its full potential in clear air – albeit on Arduous tyres – as soon as his rivals forward had pitted.
Had he certified inside the highest 4, nevertheless, Alonso would have began on the Medium tyres, the crew have confirmed.
“He would not have been caught out by the Security Automotive,” Szafnauer continued. “He would have had an excellent likelihood to battle with the highest 4 guys.
“Sadly, as a result of he was beginning in tenth with a fast automobile beneath him, the technique was to get him on the Arduous [tyres] early, so when the sector opened up as they [Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes] pit[ted], the tempo of the automobile was going to open up in order that he might pit and battle with them.”
Szafnauer – who left the Aston Martin crew on the finish of the 2021 season – additionally jokingly raised questions concerning the timing of the Security Automotive popping out.
“I do not know who crashed on objective to deliver the Security Automotive out,” he quipped.
“They did it simply on the fallacious time for us and possibly the best time for them. Who was it that? [Sebastian] Vettel? He in all probability tried to do it as a result of I am right here.”
Alpine's tempo in Australia is a warning to rivals
Alpine’s confidence that Alonso would have had the tempo to battle amongst the Purple Bull and Ferrari vehicles will come as a warning to Mercedes as their quest for efficiency continues.
With the price range cap in place, the Silver Arrows are left unable to spend their method again to the entrance and should as a substitute be extra strategic with their improve packages, all whereas a aggressive Alpine doubtlessly change into one other rival.
“I believe the price range cap positively helps as a result of, previously, they’d have the cash to throw at it, and the useful resource to throw at it – and I believe rightfully so,” Szafnauer added.
“We expect we have made an enormous step ahead on energy unit, and we’re inside ten horsepower of the most effective.”
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