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Alpine ‘amateurish’ criticisms don’t heap pressure on F1 team, says Szafnauer

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On Miami Grand Prix weekend, the Enstone-based team found itself in the firing line of Alpine chief executive Laurent Rossi as he lashed out at this year’s lack of results.

Rossi told Canal+: “Not only did I notice a clear lack of performance and rigor in terms of delivery, but the underlying mentality was also not up to the standard that this team used to have.”

Rossi also said he was impressed with Esteban Ocon’s triple penalty in Bahrain and the problems that marred the team’s weekend in Baku.

“I didn’t like the first grand prix because there was a lot of – I’m sorry to say this – amateurism, which led to an incorrect result. It was mediocre, bad.

“The last game in Baku was very similar to the one in Bahrain. It’s unacceptable.”

Despite the buzz surrounding the headline-grabbing comments, Szafnauer insisted he had not read any reports on the matter.

Moreover, he said, any such public criticism would not change the determination within the team to do better.

“Reading something like that on paper doesn’t put more pressure on (us),” he said when asked by Motorsport.com if there was more of a need to do better now.

“Everyone wants to do well here. We’re experienced, we have the highest level of technicians and engineers, and we put pressure on ourselves. So, we just have to fix it.”

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523

Photography: Alpine

Szafnauer said Rossi’s comments hadn’t made the team realize they weren’t doing everything they expected this year.

“I see you wrote something because I saw the title, but I haven’t read it yet,” he said.

“But we didn’t do well in Baku. The drivers met in Australia and I think in the first race we had numerous penalties, starting with Esteban being unfit.

“The season has not started well, maybe that’s why he made the comments. But I have to read them.”

Szafnauer said the team’s priority is to learn from all the issues that have arisen this year and make changes to processes and infrastructure to ensure the same mistakes are not repeated.

“When we have a problem like in Baku, all we can do is find and understand the root cause of it happening and make sure we put processes or people in place so it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

“We had an engine fire on one side and we had to make sure that didn’t happen. Then we had some finger issues on the other side. With finger issues, once you understand how it happens, there are ways to mitigate it. This That’s what we’re going to do. We’ve done it. It’s not happening here.”

Alpine F1 Team CEO Laurent Rossi

Alpine F1 Team CEO Laurent Rossi

Photography: Alpine

Rossi’s remarks were clearly meant to send a message, although it’s unclear what the immediate motive was.

He may have been trying to deflect the pressure, or they may be laying the groundwork for the changes he plans to make in the team.

Szafnauer said he doesn’t directly know why Rossi made the statement, but he does plan to find out.

He added: “I don’t know, you’ll have to ask him. I’ll ask him. I’ve been too busy this weekend to discuss it yet.”

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Sainz understands Ferrari’s limits: 'Not very competitive around here'

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Despite Carlos Sainz’s solid qualifying performance at his home Grand Prix, starting from second, the Ferrari driver lacked the necessary race pace compared to Red Bull and Mercedes, resulting in him finishing second. Five finishers.

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Tsunoda slams “ridiculous” F1 Spanish GP penalty for Zhou defence

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On lap 56 of 66 in a round dominated by Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, Alfa Romeo driver Zhou used DRS to challenge Tsunoda for 9th on the outside entering Turn 1 right hand.

But as the corner transitioned into Turn 2, Chow appeared to shake his machine to the left, before rejoining the track several car lengths behind Kakuda into the escape lane.

The FIA ​​stewards reviewed the incident and ruled that Zhou was ahead at the apex of Turn 1 and therefore had the right to enter the race room.

As Tsunoda was found violating the International Sports Code, he received a 5-second penalty and dropped to 12th without points. Zhou, meanwhile, scored two points for ninth.

Asked by Autosport about his reaction, Tsunoda said: “It’s a ridiculous penalty and it feels really unfair.”

Recalling his take on events, Tsunoda thought Zhou had “pretended” to run out of space and that there was “definitely” room to keep the Alfa Romeo on track.

He said: “I left the room when I saw (Zhou Lai), I think he gave up early on.

“He went outside and pretended he was being forced out, but he didn’t. Sure enough, there was room outside.

“Obviously I put pressure on him, but there was still space, so I don’t understand why it was a penalty. It felt really unfair, really harsh.”

Yuki Tsunoda, Scuderia AlphaTauri in the paddock

Yuki Tsunoda, Scuderia AlphaTauri in the paddock

Photography: Jack Grant / motorsport pictures

Tsunoda said he was not aware of the penalty until it reached the finish line, and believes drivers and teams should be able to present their defense to the FIA ​​before the final ruling is given.

He said: “After I just heard the checkered flag, I was really happy. But after listening to that radio, I was really disappointed.

“At the same time, (I think) it’s a bit of a curiosity … it’s good to have some discussion with the FIA ​​because they gave five seconds without any discussion and the race was over.

“So, it didn’t feel fair … (I felt) exhausted and flat.”

In contrast, Zhou believes that this is a dunk penalty for Kakuda. He said: “It’s very simple.

“Going into Turn 1 and into the middle, I was in the lead and I actually gave a lot of space. Then I saw that he (and him) didn’t stop.

“(He tried to) release the brakes (but he) drove me away and I had to take avoidance action and (use) the escape route or we would collide.

“So, it was tricky after that because I had a lot of rubbish on my tyres. But in the end, I was able to stay in the right position behind him and regain the position.”

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Hamilton on new contract and chasing Red Bull: ‘Meeting with Toto tomorrow’

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Lewis Hamilton is satisfied after finishing runner-up at the Spanish Grand Prix as the best driver behind Max Verstappen. The British driver was also happy to answer questions about his contract and how he might challenge Verstappen in the future.

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