Alpine planning “significant” upgrade for Imola

Alpine Formula 1 boss Otmar Szafnauer says that the team is planning a “significant” aero upgrade for the upcoming Emilia Romagna GP at Imola.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A522

Ferrari has indicated that it will hold back on developments for its local race because of the added complication of it being a sprint weekend, with the restrictions on Friday practice running that entails.

However Szafnauer says that his team is sticking to the traditional schedule of using the first European race to introduce new parts.

"We're going to bring some upgrades to Imola, that's for sure,” he said. “I wouldn't be surprised if everyone brings upgrade to Imola, it seems in my 25 years of doing this, for whatever reason, the first European races are where everyone plans their upgrade.

“It used to be Barcelona, now it's Imola. But it's the fourth race as well. So around the fourth/fifth race, everyone brings upgrades, so we too will be bringing some. It's all aero.”

Alpine showed the pace to be at the front of the midfield in Australia

Alpine showed the pace to be at the front of the midfield in Australia

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Szafnauer hinted that the changes will focus on one area, which is believed to be the floor: "It's the bit that makes the biggest difference. That's the bit that's changing. It's not a bit of everything. And it should be significant."

He believes that Alpine’s good form in Saudi Arabia and Australia, where Fernando Alonso was in the fight for pole before his engine issue, bodes well for Imola.

"[Melbourne] has characteristics that other circuits have too, so we will be quick in other places," he explained.

"Our car is strong in some areas, and it's not weak in anything, but it's less strong than others. And this circuit and Saudi were pretty good. I think [Imola] will be a good track for us.

"It's anybody's midfield, to be the best of the midfield. So we're planning to be that team. And we'll work hard to make sure that we are."

Szafnauer agreed that F1's budget cap will make it harder for Mercedes, which has yet to finish higher than third, to resolve its current issues, potentially giving an Alpine a chance to compete with the Brackley team as the season goes on.

“In the past, they would have the money to throw at it, and the resource to throw at it. So now maybe one of the limiting factors for them to be able to throw their big resources of money at it, is the budget cap," he added.

“So, I think that the budget cap helps, too. And I think rightfully so, it's the same for everybody, so let's not change it."

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