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Pierre Gasly: It will “take some time” for Alpine to find pace in 2024

Pierre Gasly has realistic expectations for 2024, following an uninspiring winter from Alpine F1.

Last year’s pre-season Alpine launch was filled with optimism. Pierre Gasly was joining a team with aspirations of cementing themselves as the “best of the rest” in Formula 1.

Otmar Szafnauer remained confident in the team’s ‘five-year plan’ after a reasonable start to the regulatory changes.

Unfortunately for the team’s fresh arrival, the situation has declined significantly in the last twelve months.

Instability at upper management is hardly a rarity for the French manufacturer.

Fred Vasseur, Cyril Abiteboul, Marcin Budkowski and even Alain Prost are among the senior personnel to come and go.

The last of these names, a 4-time F1 World Champion, criticised former CEO Laurent Rossi for his management of the team.

It was only a few months later that Rossi would oversee the catastrophic loss of Oscar Piastri and Fernando Alonso in just one summer.

As it stands, Alpine is under the leadership of Bruno Famin – who was originally brought in as a temporary team principal.

This off-track instability coincides with disappointing performance and development. Heading into 2024, expectations for team Enstone have been very low.

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Pierre Gasly and teammate Esteban Ocon have pointed out the relatively uncompetitive starting position of the A524.

During last week’s pre-season tests, Gasly outlined the team’s current situation:

“I expect it will take some time for us to unlock the performance we want from the car.

“But that is no surprise, given it’s a new concept. I’m remaining realistic. 

“I know it will not be an easy start for us. But what is most important is to keep identifying the key areas of work and to learn and progress.

“I think the good thing is we’ve identified what we’ve got to improve.”

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Of course, it is possible for mid-season development to rectify the A524’s early weaknesses.

McLaren demonstrated last season that an aggressive development programme can produce results.

However, there is very limited confidence in Alpine’s chances of replicating a similar feat. After all, the Enstone-based outfit has failed to establish itself as a regular podium contender for almost a decade.

Alongside a likely underwhelming year in terms of performance, the team must contend with two expiring deals.

Ocon and Gasly will almost certainly explore other options if the conditions at the team fail to improve.

Otmar Szafnauer’s comments from earlier this year (revealing the team still hasn’t reached the budget cap) suggest there is little reason to be optimistic.

Considering the volume of seats available in the market, there is no shortage of alternatives.

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