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Alpine's new F1 floor "overperformed" amid Baku disaster

Alpine Formula 1's Alan Permane reckons the team's upgraded floor for Baku "overperformed" amid a disastrous weekend for the Enstone outfit.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Alpine brought a substantial upgrade package with a new floor to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but its plan backfired spectacularly at F1's first sprint weekend of the 2023 season.

With just a single 60-minute practice to get the tweaked car set up, both Alpines hit trouble as Pierre Gasly's car caught fire due to a hydraulic leak after just completing seven laps while Esteban Ocon was restricted to eight laps with a gearbox issue.

Gasly then crashed in qualifying, while Ocon had to start from the pitlane after concerns about his car's plank wear, with the team deciding to break parc ferme rules and adjust the ride height.

Gasly and Ocon finished 14th and 15h respectively having finished well outside the points in Saturday's sprint as well.

But despite a hugely challenging and frantic weekend, the team's sporting director Alpine Permane reckons Alpine still had a good read on how its new floor performed and the results were better than hoped.

When asked whether the Enstone team got the answers it wanted on its floor, Permane replied: "Yes, we did get that thankfully.

"It worked, in fact it overperformed a little bit, so that is a positive to take away from this weekend.

"And again, looks very much like we're going to continue that trend of just being able to put things on the car without really having to test them too much, which is such a huge benefit.

"That's something that we grew in confidence with last year, as more and more things come through."

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523, comes to a halt with a fire

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523, comes to a halt with a fire

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Alpine will continue to bring news bits to the next two races in Miami and Imola, which will revert to a normal weekend format.

"We've got something in Miami, something else in Imola, I'm not too sure where we are beyond that," said Permane. "But there's definitely another tenth coming and then another tenth, so there's good stuff coming in the pipeline and having that confidence that it'll work first time is great."

Baku was an example of the unfortunate season start Alpine has made, its sixth place with just eight points scored not reflecting the team's fifth place in the pecking order on pace.

Permane believes the team's ambition to hang on to fourth place is still a possibility, despite the gap that has been widening to Aston Martin, Mercedes and Ferrari ahead.

"I think so. I think we have to do that," he replied. "We have to just keep doing our job, putting upgrades on the car and improving the car.

"And then assuming, like last year, that we improve at a better rate of most other people, if not all other people.

"It's a long season. We've still got 19 races to go, a very, very long way to go. We've had some real misfortune, but we are still absolutely targeting that."

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