In Formula 1 there has always been the idea of a midfield. However, Alpine’s Executive Director Marcin Budkowski thinks that the F1 pack “is not a midfield anymore”.
Budkowski believes this because, during the pre-season testing in Bahrain, many teams performed extremely well. One of them was Alpine itself, which completed 396 laps showing that their new challenger has a great pace.
Despite collecting promising results, Budkowski admitted that he does not know where Alpine can be in the pecking order in 2021.
“Honestly I don’t know, it’s tricky – a tough one to call really,” said Budkowski. “I think it’s not a midfield anymore, it’s a field. We still expect Mercedes at the front; clearly, they’ve had a few issues and they were probably sandbagging a little bit at the beginning of the test, and we still expect Red Bull to be strong.
“But behind that, it’s a field, really, and where we are in this field is difficult to say. I expect to be competitive, but McLaren seems good, seem quick, Aston Martin, when they run, seem pretty quick. And the rest, I don’t know really.”
However, Alpine might have an ace in the hole this season: Fernando Alonso. The returning two-time world champion is pushing the team to the limit and he is giving a lot of motivation to everyone at Alpine. Moreover, Budkowski confirmed that the Spaniard is “on top form” ahead of the 2021 season.
“He was on it,” said Budkowski. “He was in the car, straight away quick, reliable, giving amazing feedback to the engineers. That’s what you expect from Fernando.
“Luckily we had him coming to a few races last year, we had him testing an older spec car a few times, we had him in the car in Abu Dhabi as a young returning driver, if you want, in the car, so he was integrated into the team already.
“He’s been spending some time in the simulator over the winter as well with the engineers, so he was on it, and to be honest, no [after effects] from his accident either. He’s on top form.”