Alpine driver chaos “no distraction” says Szafnauer

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Alpine F1 Team Otmar Szafnauer
Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Alpine F1 Team Otmar Szafnauer

Team Principal for Alpine Otmar Szafnauer insists the teams situation regarding it’s driver line-up for 2023 is “absolutely no distraction” as Formula 1 returns from the summer break in Belgium.

Szafnauer said: “Clearly the team has been quite prominent in the world media in the days after Hungary and just before the summer break, however, it is absolutely no distraction for us once we hit the race track again.

“While we’re losing a fantastic asset in Fernando (Alonso) for next year, his decision has zero bearing on what we want to achieve together in 2022,” the 58-year-old added.

Alpine are battling McLaren, who are favourites to pinch Alpine’s reserve driver, and assumed Alonso successor, Oscar Piastri, for fourth place in the Constructors Championship, with the French team holding a slender four-point advantage over the Woking-based team.

Enstone-based Alpine will be pleased to know that their current pairing of Esteban Ocon and Alonso are keen to head to the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

Ocon, who is the team’s highest scoring driver in 2022, said: “Spa is a place that I know most drivers really enjoy driving at, including myself.

“It’s even more special for me as it is where I made my Formula 1 debut in 2016. It was a moment I’ll never forget, a moment where a dream came true.”

Alonso, 41, backed up Ocon’s claim by saying: “I do enjoy racing at Spa. It’s one of the most historic races on the calendar. We usually have interesting races there as the circuit lends itself to lots of overtaking opportunities.”

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