Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Albert Park, 2022

“Difficult” for Alpine to catch Ferrari in 2022 – Alonso

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In the round-up: Fernando Alonso says it’s unlikely Alpine will be able to make up the gap to Ferrari in 2022.

In brief

“Difficult” for Alpine to catch Ferrari in 2022 – Alonso

Fernando Alonso says Alpine may have the potential to find a “huge step” on their car this season, but admits it’s unlikely the team will be able to make up the gap to Ferrari out front.

Alonso believed he was in genuine contention for a possible podium position in Australia last weekend, before crashing in Q3 after a hydraulics problem, eventually finishing out of the points in 17th.

“To match the Ferrari pace, I think it’s going to be difficult because obviously, we are eight-tenths, or one second behind at the moment, looking at the first two races in qualifying performance,” said Alonso.

“To close that gap, it will be a little bit too optimistic – but let’s see. We need to keep working, and it’s so early days on these cars, that you may find something much bigger than what you thought at the beginning, when you test it on the wind tunnel, and maybe you make a huge step.”

Nailing W13 set-up on Friday crucial at sprint weekend – Shovlin

Mercedes trackside engineering director, Andrew Shovlin, says that it will be critical to “hit the ground running” for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix weekend.

As the first sprint race weekend of the season, the race at the Imola circuit will only have a single one hour practice session. Shovlin says that it will be crucial for Mercedes to get their cars set up right before qualifying takes place on Friday afternoon.

“The big challenge for the teams and the drivers with the sprint format is that you’ve only got one hour to get the car sorted for the qualifying session for the sprint race and for the main race on Sunday – and that’s difficult,” says Shovlin.

“Now we’re on very much a learning curve with these new cars and the tyres, so that Imola race is going to be difficult. If you hit the ground running, you’re probably going to have a good weekend. If you put the car on track and it’s a difficult one to deal with, it might be quite painful.”

Moving from four car team to three has been “positive” for Penske – Newgarden

Penske driver Josef Newgarden believes that the team moving from a four car operation to only three in 2022 has benefited the organisation.

Newgarden and team mates Will Power and Scott McLaughlin are Penske’s three drivers for this season after Simon Pagenaud moved to Meyer Shank for 2022. Newgarden believes downsizing has been helped the team to focus.

“We’ve compacted everything,” said Newgarden. “We’ve sort of narrowed in on kind of our focus and what we need to be really looking at and how we can control the whole group.

“It’s a little easier to get your arms around it when it’s three versus four, so I do think there’s a positive impact, short-term, that we’re seeing going from four to three.”

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Comment of the day

This weekend’s Caption Competition winner is @dave-m!:

Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo with a Full-size Lego McLaren, Albert Park, Melbourne, 2022
Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo with a Full-size Lego McLaren, Albert Park, Melbourne, 2022

The FIA issued Ricciardo a 10-second penalty for excessive blocking
@dave-m

Thanks to everyone who came up with caption idea this week and a special mention to @rdotquestionmark, @srga91, @nullapax and @badger who all came up with particularly good captions.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Alan and Consi!

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 17 comments on ““Difficult” for Alpine to catch Ferrari in 2022 – Alonso”

    1. “If you hit the ground running, you’re probably going to have a good weekend.”
      Pretty sure the Mercedes hitting the ground while running is one of the key reasons they’ve been having terrible weekends!

      1. @tommy-c clap clap clap!

        1. On a serious note. I’m really looking forward to how teams are going to cope with Imola’s elevation changes.

      2. I doubt they hit the ground running on porpoise.

        1. Also very good! @jff

    2. Congrats @dave-m on the cap comp win. There were other good ones but this was hard to beat.

      As an aside, can anyone point me to the winner of the previous cap comp. I must have missed it, but I cant find it.

      1. The previous Caption Competition was not shared/declared.
        I guess we were all winners ;)

        PS (@WillWood) It would be better to quote the runners up, or link to the specific entry. If you only mention their handles it is not always clear which ones you liked (multiple entries).

        1. Thanks jff. At least I know I am not going mad. (and I’m happy to live with an equal first, shared with a few dozen others :-) )

          On your second point, I believe there used to be a direct link to the entry concerned. Probably just an oversight this time (in addition to the omission of the previous results).

      2. @cairnsfella you took the words out of my mouth

    3. Indeed & I doubt they’ll catch next season either.

      Yes, nailing set-up is crucial with a single FP before QLF (another between QLF & Sprint like last season), but in any case, the competitive order among the top three teams will probably be the same as thus far.

      1. competitive order among the top three teams

        Who’s the third?
        I’m not convinced that Mercedes is currently third fastest on pure pace.

    4. So is ALO looking to do better in ’23, thus fuelling the rumour mongering that Alpine will serious consider loaning out PIA???

      1. That might be the situation. Alo wants to continue in ’23 but if Piastri comes alongside him Alo might get flashbacks from a certain rookie from 2007. If Alpine can at least be in this years Merc level and if they will sign Pia alongside Alo they could have a mega lineup.

        1. First, Alpine has signed Ocon until 2024, if I am not mistaken. Why would they sack him? Ocon is the last winner for Alpine, he has 10 times more points than Alonso this season. There’s no reason to sign him off.

          Second, Alpine will not be at Mercedes’ level. Not this year, not next year. They are far from Mercedes’ level even now, when Mercedes has huge problems. In three races, Mercedes got 2 podiums and a second place in both championships. And how many podiums managed Alpine? None. What’s their place in the WCC standings? Fifth. Three times less points than Mercedes (almost, 65 to 22×3). Alpine even managed to lose to McLaren.

          What will happen next year? Alpine will not disappoint – they will fight for top 5 at best, as usual.

          1. Yet if you ask any sane person who they reckon will outscore the other 9 out of 10 would say Alonso over Ocon. I respect ocon, good driver and very reliable scorer but results and points don’t tell nearly the whole story of this season or even last season for that matter. The way you just gloss over the results and points standings shows me that either you didn’t watch the races or you’re not taking everything into account in purpose. You cannot just dismiss Alonso based on results alone like that

            Alpine was every bit a match for the merc in qualifying and in clean air during the race. Can it hold on to that I’ve no idea. Was it track specific, we’ll have to wait and see.

          2. Lol by your logic red bull and sainz are also no match for Mercedes, Russel is 2nd in the championship. Lol get real

    5. Catching Ferrari is out of touch with reality unless they start to do a really exceptional job and don’t see any signs of that from the team in several years. A more appropriate goal would be to finish p4 in wcc, with a stretch and luck maybe p3. Think what Alonso can realistically hope for is a couple more podiums and maybe a lucky win for the remainder of his F1 career. Not being a hater would love to see a great comeback story against the odds but can’t see it happening

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