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Alpine performance “not acceptable” for works F1 team, admits Famin

Alpine Formula 1 boss Bruno Famin admits that the team’s current performance level is “not acceptable”, especially for a works organisation.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524, Pierre Gasly, Alpine A524

Photo by: Alpine

However, the Frenchman remains confident that the team can recover in the coming months following a restructuring that has seen a switch to a new system with three technical directors.

Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly qualified 19th and 20th in Bahrain, and finished 17th and 18th, beating only the delayed cars of Valtteri Bottas (Sauber) and Logan Sargeant (Williams).

After the flag the drivers issued upbeat messages to their team, with Ocon reminding the crew that it was only the first race and that there is still time for improvement.

“It's very important and I really thank both drivers,” Famin told Autosport. “Because we heard the message from Esteban, but Pierre was also very positive in his message.

“They are very constructive, very positive, considering the race we have made. And this is the spirit of everybody in the team. That's a very positive note in a very negative weekend.

“Because if we are factual, the weekend was very bad. But we trust that we have a team that will work together to improve the situation as quickly as possible.”

Asked if there was now pressure from top Renault management to get results, Famin said the team doesn’t have to be told that it has to improve.

"What I was saying about the positive note about the rest of the team and the drivers, we don't need anybody to put the pressure on us to know that this is not acceptable,” he said.

Bruno Famin, Team Principal, Alpine F1 Team

Bruno Famin, Team Principal, Alpine F1 Team

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

“That's just the first race. It's the same for everybody, of course, but the car is new, let's develop it. I'm quite optimistic in the fact that we can go out of this position, which was indeed very bad.

“And all the team will push on that. I think we put on ourselves the pressure, and we perfectly know that we have to improve, and improve quickly."

Both drivers have indicated that the team knows what direction it needs to take, but Famin says that there is no specific timetable for when developments will reach the track and have a positive impact.

"How long it will take, I don't know, to be honest,” he said. “Like all the teams we have upgrades coming, of course. We have theoretical figures about what the upgrades will bring, we're pushing for having those upgrades as soon as possible.

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“But everybody's in the same situation, even the first one on the grid, or on the podium. Everybody's pushing, and the challenge is to go faster than the others.

“The problem of the car, I think the drivers commented that one of the main points that was quite difficult in Bahrain was the lack of traction, and Bahrain is very difficult for that, we all know.

“But we need to keep working to improve it, it was already a problem we had last year. We really need to understand and to find solutions, And we're on it.”

The recent management restructuring involved internal promotions, and there has been no word on high-profile recruits to replace recently departed technical director Matt Harman and head of aero Dirk de Beer, or indeed chief technical officer Pat Fry, who left last summer.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine, Bruno Famin, Team Principal, Alpine F1 Team

Pierre Gasly, Alpine, Bruno Famin, Team Principal, Alpine F1 Team

Photo by: Shameem Fahath

However, Famin says that the headcount will be bolstered by new hirings.

"We will have more people coming, we will have more people coming soon,” he said. “Not big, big names, but very interesting profiles.

“I really want to build the team. We have talented people, but it's good to refresh the team with new ideas, new people knowing new processes, or different processes.

“It's good to have a controlled turnover in our staff, and to reinforce the structure we have with the talented people we have.

“Of course, it's good to be able to attract big names, but we also know that it takes a lot of time to add them with the system of gardening leave.

“You may need one year or even more to attract a very good guy, or a very well-known guy at least, because you never know if the guys are good because they have a very good team, or because they are very good themselves. It's always a bit difficult to identify.

“We do not exclude anything, but for the time being we are happy with the people we have, we are consistent with the idea of developing the potential of our own people, and to develop the creativity, reinforced by newcomers in strategic and interesting positions.”

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