Tough Day At The Office For Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Alpine F1 Team A522. Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Saturday 23rd April 2022. Imola, Italy.
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Alpine F1 Team A522. Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Saturday 23rd April 2022. Imola, Italy.

BWT Alpine F1 Team finished with Fernando Alonso ninth and Esteban Ocon sixteenth in the opening Sprint Qualifying of the season ahead of tomorrow’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

It was a missed opportunity for Fernando to upgrade his fifth-place grid slot as he fell four places to ninth at the chequered flag. Esteban was able to gain some positions as he converted his back row grid slot to sixteenth by the end, with all still to play for in tomorrow’s 63-lap race at Imola.

Both drivers opted to begin the 21-lap Sprint on Soft tyres. Fernando struggled to exit his grid box off the line and slipped back two places by Turn 2 on the opening lap. Esteban, meanwhile, was able to benefit from a lap one incident ahead to gain two places, adding to the position he gained on the run to the first corner off the line.

Fernando was locked in battle for the remainder of the race, eventually yielding eighth place – and the final points-scoring position – five laps from the end to finish in ninth. Esteban was unable to advance from sixteenth with a six-car train ahead blocking the way.

Esteban Ocon

“It was a tricky race overall today and it was always going to be a challenge for us to gain places. To finish in sixteenth was probably the best we could have achieved. I had a decent start, avoided the incidents and from there it was a train with the cars ahead. It was difficult to progress, but tomorrow, I’m confident we can do more. Scoring points is very much our target. We gained a good understanding on the tyres today, which will help with our strategy. There could be some rain too, and, as we know in Formula 1, anything can happen.”

Fernando Alonso

“We weren’t fast enough today, so it was a disappointing Sprint Qualifying for us. There was a lot of tyre degradation and our start was far from ideal, so we need to look into that tonight. We knew that it was going to be tough to keep Perez and Sainz behind with the pace they have, so we thought seventh was possibly a realistic position today. But, with the tyre graining, it was made harder to achieve this. We have tomorrow to recover and today is almost like a Q4! We will review our tyre selection and will see what the weather is going to do tomorrow, because it looks like there is a chance of rain. There’s definitely more to play for.”

Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal

“It was a disappointing Sprint Qualifying for the team today, which leaves us with some work to do for tomorrow’s main race. Unfortunately, Fernando’s race was compromised from the start when a poor launch meant he was always on the backfoot and in defensive rather than offensive mode. From there, he wasn’t able to progress any further and we have to identify some of the areas that will make our car more competitive in race trim. On Esteban’s side, he was able to benefit from the early incident to cars ahead to gain some positions, which means he’s slightly better placed on the grid for tomorrow’s race. Tomorrow, with half an eye on the sky, and some unpredictability in the forecast, will be a challenge and we’ll give it our best to have both cars in the points at the end of the main race.”

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