Well… Apline… they sure were a team this season.
They did the zoomy around in circles didn’t they you… know.
It’s a very disappointing season for the French Manufacture as they finished on 53 fewer points than last season, and two positions down in sixth position.
So, let’s look back at Alpine’s miserable year in F1.
Firstly, what have been the best parts of this Season for the Enstone team?
You have Esteban Ocon’s impressive podium for Alpine in the Monaco Grand Prix.
This was at the point of the season where Alpine at some races had the fifth fastest car, before Mclaren came on the scene nearer the midpoint of the season.
So Monaco is one of those circuits that is the great equalizer in terms of machinery and driver talent, with its tight twisty layout, which tests the driver’s bravery and awareness of their own limits.
Ocon proved this in the qualifying session, when he finished fourth and only 0.188s slower than Max Verstappen’s P1 time, and then only 0.082s off of Leclerc in third.
This isn’t where Ocon started though, as Charles Leclerc was given a three-place grid penalty for impeding Lando Norris, which is another of Monaco’s characteristics.
Therefore, you’d expect the race to be an easier one than for Esteban, thanks to the circuit’s limited overtaking opportunities, but he did have to deal with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.
But not for long, as the Ferrari driver misjudged his breaking into Nouvelle chicane and clipped the Alpine with his front wing, which ended his own podium chances.
He then also had to put up with the rain that started on lap 45, but even with all these tests Esteban was able to hold onto his podium, the first for the team since Fernando Alonso in the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix.
The next big highlight of Alpines season was their other podium for Gasly in the Netherlands, which was largely unexpected.
Both cars in qualifying trim were largely uncompetitive, as Ocon only set a time good enough for 17th as he exited in Q1, in a largely gutting result for a team whose aims were much above this.
Pierre was unable to achieve anything spectacular himself 0.061 off of 10th place Logan Sargent in Q2, finishing the session 12th, not a position you’d expect him to challenge for a podium from.
The race was a pretty crazy one though as spells of rain affected the grid throughout.
Originally it helped Gasly move massively up the field as he sat in third by lap five, before Verstappen moved by on lap five.
It then disadvantaged poor Gasly who fell back after a five-second penalty for speeding in the pitlane, which dropped him done to fifth on lap 47.
The French driver then moved back up to fourth when he went around the outside of Sainz at turn one putting him back in that prime position for a podium.
The rain then got bad again, which caused Perez to thump the pit wall on the way in for extreme wets, before a red flag was called with five laps to go.
Gasly was able to stay within the five-second zone of Perez, which gave Alpine a second podium of the season.
The team saw both cars not finish a race three times this season with the failures coming in Australia, Britain, and Hungary.
The first time came when they collided at the exit of turn 2 in Australia when they were both competitively running in the top ten.
In Britain, Alpine lost Ocon on lap 10 as he sustained a hydraulic issue with the A523, which sent him to the motorhome.
Then in the late stages of the race Gasly retired with right rear damage after contact with Lance Stroll while fighting for the final points position in Vale.
Finally, in Hungary, a bit of a domino effect happened at turn one as Zhou hit Riccardo, who hit Ocon, who tangled tyres with Gasly, sending them both out.
The team has also been massively disorganized behind the scenes as well.
This started with ex Apline CEO Laurent Rossi’s public meltdown at the team as he had expected a lot more of them at this point in the season.
He said in an interview: “Not worthy of the resources”
“The right to make mistakes, it is a basic principle. Mistakes are what we learn from. However, when you make the same mistakes twice, it means you haven’t learned and that you aren’t taking responsibility. And that, that is not acceptable.”
This led to manager management changes in the team,
Firstly, before the Hungary race weekend, Laurent Rossi was dropped as Alpine CEO for Philippe Krief.
As the team headed to Spa Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer was fired from his team’s principal position after only 18 months in the role and Alan Permane was also dropped from his role as sporting director after 34 years.
Bruno Famin came in on an interim basis to take over the team principal role, but has remained in the role since.
These changes within Alpine doesn’t help them improve and move up the field as the team has been a continuous evolution of itself for the past two to three years now, which gives it no structure to improve from.
In Conclusion, Alpine has had for their standards another terrible season, yet again they have found themselves in this limbo of mid-field racing, which they have been stuck in now since 2017.
With that being said they do have a strong driver line with only four points separating the pair in the final championship standings, as they led the way in 11th position.
The thing is it’s now a desperate time for the team to see signs of improvement with them now being in the sport for nearly eight years, and with this new investment, puts them under even more pressure to do something note-worthy.
Plus, teams like Williams do seem to be closing the gap pace-wise, with them at certain circuits being remarkably quick, so if Logan Sargent finds some pace next year Alpine could be in trouble considering Albon was only 31 points behind Ocon in the championship.
So, going into next season Alpine must perform.