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Why progress, not early form, is all that matters for Alpine F1 boss

Alpine says the success of its Formula 1 season will be judged on the progress it can make from what is expected to be a difficult start to the new campaign.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A524

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

The French manufacturer has been bracing itself for some early struggles, with the performance of its new A524 in Bahrain testing last week suggesting it will be battling at the back of the field – and could even be last.

But while it has not been shying away from its competitive reality, Alpine team principal Bruno Famin says that it is not early results that will define its campaign ahead.

Instead, with Alpine’s infamous 100-race plan having been abandoned, Famin says that what he wants to see above all else from the squad in 2024 is constant improvement.

“Our objective this year will be to generate the dynamic in improving the car, and improving the team as well,” he said. “That is the team as a whole and not only trackside.

“It is much more than giving a target in terms of final result or position in the championship or podiums. What I really need to see is this dynamic.

“The car is what it is right now. The important thing is to be able to develop it together with the team, with the factories at Viry and Enstone, and trackside. Everybody pushing for improvement.”

Alpine has heavily revamped its car for this year, after feeling that it needed to make a bold step from its A523 design.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A524

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A524

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

But early running has not shown too much promise, even if Famin suggests that the outfit was not chasing “performance” in testing.

Pierre Gasly dropped a firm hint to RTBF about where he was anticipating Alpine to be early on. “We're starting from quite far away,” he said.

As well as Alpine clearly needing to find improvements in aerodynamic terms, it is also understood that the new car is overweight and could be quite a bit above the minimum weight limit.

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Asked how much gain was going to come from aero, and how much from weight reduction, Famin said: “We don't know yet exactly. Let's analyse it better.

“But weight is always a factor. When you are overweight, you need to be underweight. When you are underweight, you have to manage the ballast in the right place.

“And even when you are underweight, you still have to gain weight to improve the weight distribution. So, weight reduction is always a challenge.”

Famin said he remained hopeful Alpine would be fighting in the midfield pack, but admitted that the true test of its performance would only become clear over the Bahrain GP weekend.

“There is a lot to learn for sure,” he said. “The car is new from front to back: the chassis is different, the suspension is different,  the aero is different.

“We wanted to try to improve the weak point of the previous car. Let's wait for next week to see if we're on target on it.”

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