How Miami GP showcased Alpine's progress
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By Robert Hansford profile image Robert Hansford
4 min read

How Miami GP showcased Alpine's progress

Alpine's competitiveness at the Miami Grand Prix suggests it could be back on a path towards the sharp end of the midfield

It’s not exactly been the greatest start to the 2024 Formula 1 season for Alpine.

The Enstone-based team was expected to turn up at the start of the year with a more competitive car than its 2023 machine, but instead it found itself languishing at the back of the grid.

But over the past couple of race weekends there have been hints of progress, and at Miami it cemented that theory with Esteban Ocon picking up Alpine’s first point of the season with a 10th place finish in Sunday’s grand prix.

And having now put himself on the points scoreboard, Ocon is hoping it will the first of many more top 10 finishes this year.

“We can’t be the most satisfied, but it goes in the right direction and I’m super proud of the team for not giving up, for keeping on pushing the whole time and coming up with a reward after this week,” Ocon said to Sky Sports. “It feels definitely good. 

“And I hope it’s going to be the first points of many for the rest of the season. So we’ll keep pushing. 

“It’s been a crazy race, not the easiest weekend, not the perfect weekend, but yeah, it’s paid off and we can be pleased with that.”

Ocon started the race 13th on the grid, and in a bid to progress through the field, Alpine gambled on pitting both of its drivers early to try and benefit from the undercut and any potential safety car.

That gamble paid off for Ocon as he made the most of the virtual safety car and then full safety car that was sent out after Max Verstappen hit a bollard to climb up to 10th.

His team-mate Pierre Gasly didn’t benefit from the same fortune however, failing to make any progress from his starting position of 12th. But nevertheless, Alpine team principal Bruno Famin believes the team executed its race as best as possible.

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“It's our first point of the season, so it's a satisfactory day from a sporting point of view,” Famin said about Ocon’s 10th place finish. 

“We had a clear plan with one car stopping early to undercut our direct opponents, and the other betting on a longer first stint in the hope of a VSC, a safety car or a red flag. 

“That's exactly what happened and Esteban took the point for 10th place. 

“It was a flawless race from everyone in the team – strategy, race management, pit stops – and we did what was necessary for the team to benefit from it. 

“It was a much more positive weekend here in Miami and we need to keep striving for more if we want to fight for better positions.”

What our editor says

Famin isn’t wrong about Alpine’s need to strive for more. Getting a points finish for the first time this season is an achievement to be commended, especially after where the team started this season. But the fact is, it shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

The operational aspect of Alpine seems to have been completely lost at sea over the last 12 months, lacking any direction and that’s no doubt contributed to its dramatic fall from the front of the midfield.

But Ocon’s 10th place in Miami does at least provide a glimmer of hope for the team, especially when coupled with the fact that Gasly was able to finish the sprint race in ninth.

The hard work starts now though. With the start of the European races just around the corner, it means the development race will heat up quickly. 

Alpine needs to make sure it’s at the forefront of that development race, especially compared to the likes of Haas, RB, Williams and Sauber.

If the team can bring some substantial upgrades to the car that provide real gains against those rivals, then it would be no surprise to see Ocon and Gasly pick up more points before the summer break arrives.

But it can’t afford to be distracted by anything. It’s a team whose presence on the F1 grid is already being questioned, with rumours floating that the team might be up for sale. 

As such, it wouldn’t be overly dramatic to suggest that the most important period of its participation in F1 might just be around the corner.

Rob Hansford

By Robert Hansford profile image Robert Hansford
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