Alpine: Alonso Qatar F1 podium "a question of a few corners"

Alpine Formula 1 director Marcin Budkowski admitted Fernando Alonso's one-stop run to third at the Qatar Grand Prix was "a question of a few corners whether we would make it or not."

The inaugural Qatar Grand Prix proved to be a significant challenge for the Pirelli tyres due to a combination of high-speed corners and aggressive kerbs at the Losail International Circuit.

During Sunday's race, Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas, McLaren driver Lando Norris and both Williams cars of George Russell and Nicholas Latifi all suffered left-front tyre failures as they attempted what Pirelli called a "marginal" one-stop strategy.

After the race, Pirelli vowed to launch an investigation into the four tyre failures, suggesting they "could be the result of very high wear combined with high-speed impacts against kerbs that are very aggressive at Losail."

Alpine's executive director Budkowski admitted that his team was also concerned about whether Alonso's left-front tyre would hold amid high degradation.

Alonso and teammate Esteban Ocon both opted for a one-stop strategy on their runs to third and fifth, Alpine's best result since winning the Hungarian Grand Prix before the summer break.

The team realised there was no way back once its drivers had committed to a one-stopper and it therefore instructed them early on to stay off the kerbs and manage the tyres.

But that cautious approach also put Alonso and Ocon under threat from Red Bull's two-stopping Sergio Perez. The Mexican managed to pass Ocon for fourth but finished 2.8 seconds shy of Alonso, having started the final tour five seconds behind.

"Everybody really worked hard to make that tyre last until the last few laps, so yeah, it was stressful," Budkowski said.

"We knew if we stopped we wouldn't get anything. We managed these tyres quite early, but also we understood that avoiding the kerbs was key and we instructed our drivers to do that.

"On the last lap I saw all the mechanics jumping on the grid, I was like 'no, no, no, there is a few more corners left'. Just because we... honestly it was a question of a few corners whether we would make it or not."

Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon, Alpine celebrate with the team

Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon, Alpine celebrate with the team

Photo by: Alpine

Budkowski added that he wasn't worried from a safety point of view given that it was only the left-front tyre that was critical.

"Look, there was no safety concern. If you puncture the front tyre, you just lose the front end and you slide," he explained.

"The rear tyre is a bit different because if you lose a rear tyre, you might spin and go off track.

"We were confident we're not putting anyone at risk there but obviously, we're putting our race and our points at risk."

Read Also:

Alonso, who secured his first podium since 2014, said he wasn't thinking about potential failures from the cockpit, and thought he still had a bit of extra margin.

"I don't know, I don't think it was too bad for us," he said.

"It seems that our car is kind on tyres. We did a one-stop also in Brazil last week and I think we had some margin to keep pushing a little bit more, but you never know."

shares
comments

Related video

Ten things we learned from F1's 2021 Qatar Grand Prix
Previous article

Ten things we learned from F1's 2021 Qatar Grand Prix

Next article

Gasly frustrated by "shocking" AlphaTauri F1 pace in Qatar race

Gasly frustrated by "shocking" AlphaTauri F1 pace in Qatar race
Load comments
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021