Fernando Alonso told by Alpine boss he can win this year despite Canada disaster


Alpine have shown impressive pace at times so far this season, and team boss Otmas Szafnauer believes Alonso and Esteban Ocon have a car that could power them to the podium

Fernando Alonso qualified on the front row in Montreal – but slipped back during the race

Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon have been told they could win a race this season with Alpine confident of their car performance.

The French constructor is in a battle for fourth place in the constructors’ championship this season, and has shown some mixed form over the first nine races. The Canadian Grand Prix brought their best haul of points so far this year, though it might perhaps have been even better.

Alonso and Ocon managed 10 points between them, but the Spaniard in particular will feel he could have done a lot more. He produced a supreme lap in Saturday’s wet qualifying session to start on the front row, but slipped back to seventh in the race before a penalty pushed him further back to ninth.

It was still a strong weekend overall, as Alpine closed the gap to main rivals McLaren with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo both failing to score in Montreal. And for team principal Otmar Szafnauer, it was evidence that they are capable of achieving something special when it all comes together.

“Yeah, for sure if we get the rub of the green, a win and a podium as possible,” he hypothesised. “But I think looking at trying to overtake the third placed team with the amount of races that are left and the points that are available, will be difficult. But every once in a while, a podium and a win? Yeah, that could be possible.”

Ocon was a shock race winner in Budapest last season
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Getty Images)

Alonso is the headline name at Alpine, given his status as a two-time world champion and the fact he remains capable of magic even at the age of 40. But it was Ocon who, in 2021, stole the limelight with his shock victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Szafnauer said there remains a “large” gap between the two drivers, but backed the Frenchman Ocon to continue to improve while Alonso uses all his experience to make his mark. “It was large at the end, but not every lap, so Esteban was making inroads, he was getting closer and closer,” added the former Aston Martin chief.

“But you have to remember, in changeable conditions, Fernando is on it very quickly. And you know, he gets up to speed much quicker than most drivers do. I think he’s always had it. He’s always been on it very quickly, and experience helps too.”

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