New technical rules and a lower budget cap for F1 teams means Alpine can no longer excuse poor performances on a lack of cash, according to their Spanish driver
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Fernando Alonso has admitted his Alpine team no longer has any excuse for failure after Formula 1 rules were changed to promote more competitiveness in the sport.
The Spaniard is back with the team for a second spell after taking some time away from the sport, coming back to much fanfare last season. His first spell with the Enstone outfit was highly successful for both parties, as Alonso became world champion in 2005 and 2006 – when Alpine was named Renault – before moving on to join McLaren.
But things have changed since the team was known as Renault and dominated the championship in its blue and yellow colours. It has failed to compete for titles in the last 15 years, while Alonso has also fallen short of glory despite finishing second on three separate occasions with Ferrari.
A swathe of technical rule changes and a lower budget cap which came into effect for this season have given Alpine an opportunity to move closer to the front of the grid again. They can be more competitive financially, which Alonso has said it means the team no longer has an excuse for failure.
“The rules are meant to have a closer competition and a more fair competition as well with the budget cap, so it’s up to us,” the Spaniard told Reuters. “If we are fast, it’s because we did a good job. If we are not fast it’s not because we spend less or these things that happen in the past in Formula 1.”
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F1 cars have been completely redesigned as a result of the new regulations, while all teams must adhere to a £106m budget cap. “The cars now are very new for everybody,” Alonso added. “During the year, I think it’s going to be a huge progress for everyone and we need to win that race also off track.”
The team got off to a decent start at the first race of the season in Bahrain. Thanks to mechanical problems which took both Red Bull cars out of the race in the dying stages, both Alpine drivers were able to score points. Alonso crossed the line ninth, two places behind team-mate Esteban Ocon.
Ocon’s surprise victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix last season showed the team is capable of achieving great things, but more important this season is consistent point-scoring. A successful season would not only lay a solid foundation upon which to build, but it might convince their title-winning driver to come back for more.
Alonso has admitted that the team’s progress is an important factor in his F1 future: “We are here to make those possibilities as soon as possible and try to shortcut that time in a way,” he said. “Everyone is working flat out in the car, in the engine side as well, and we want to see Alpine win as soon as possible.”