Monday, March 4, 2024

Alpine’s Otmar Szafnauer admits two-stop strategy was “not the optimal approach” in Montréal

BWT Alpine F1 Team came away from the Canadian Grand Prix with four points added to their tally, as Esteban Ocon crossed the line eighth on Sunday and team-mate Pierre Gasly finished twelfth after a tricky recovery drive. 

Alpine Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer felt that the team missed out on a greater haul of points at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve due to their strategy decision to take two pit stops as opposed to one, which had proved to be a competitive alternative for rival teams. 

“It’s not been a straightforward afternoon with Esteban in the points and Pierre unfortunately missing out. 

“I think we have many things to learn from the race as we saw both Ferraris, Sergio [Perez] and Alex [Albon] make the one-stop strategy work, whereas we planned a one-stop but converted to a two-stop on both cars, which probably was not the optimal approach given the final outcome. That’s something we’ll review to see what we can do better going forward.” 

Szafnauer was impressed with Ocon’s drive, starting from a solid sixth place and gaining positions before ultimately dropping back behind a few one-stop runners. Gasly, on the other hand, had to “play catch-up” after being knocked out in Q1 on Saturday after being impeded by Carlos Sainz, who ended up taking a grid penalty for the incident.

Szafnauer added that Gasly was greatly hindered in his effort to climb up from fifteenth place due to the safety car that came out just a lap after he took to the pits, with his competitors able to take advantage of a less costly stop. 

“Esteban did a good job, especially at the start of the race where he was running as high as fourth behind the leading pack. It was a much more difficult afternoon for Pierre who was unfortunate with the timing of the first Safety Car as he pitted early to try and jump the traffic ahead.

“Again, like in Spain, it highlights the importance of Qualifying and benefitting from track position. His weekend was compounded by yesterday’s impeding incident and it meant he was always going to play catch-up in the race.”

Ultimately, Szafnauer was pleased to see the team extend their streak of points finishes to four rounds, but hopes to be on the front foot for the upcoming sprint weekend at the Red Bull Ring and fight for a “better outcome.”

“Looking forward, we’ve made it four consecutive races in the points and we must capitalise on our stronger race pace by converting that performance level into bigger points. Next up is the Austrian Sprint weekend where we must come away with a better outcome from both races.”

Credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team
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