On Wednesday, Alpine launched a 2024 challenger that is a complete overhaul of its predecessor, with technical director Matt Harman explaining “only the steering wheel” has been carried over following a sixth-place finish in 2023.
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The “aggressive” revamp, which not only involves aerodynamics but also a redesign of rear suspension and the cooling packageis aiming at unlocking much more development potential down the road and providing Ocon and Gasly with a car that is more compliant and easier to set up.

However, the initial sideways step to a new design means Alpine could well appear at the season start in Bahrain behind where it wants to be, a scenario which both drivers have been briefed about.

“It is a possible scenario,” Ocon responded when asked by Motorsport.com if Alpine is braced for a difficult start.

Alpine A524

Photo by: Alpine

“We have a new concept, the car is totally new, and when you do that you normally take a step back. I don’t say that this is the case, because we haven’t put the car down yet. But the plan is to improve it through the year and get more progress, the more that we go through the laps.

“It’s going to be crucial to get a good feedback straight away, to know where we have to improve, to see if the concept choices that we made are the right ones. It’s not necessarily that crucial where we start, but it’s going to be where we are mid-season.”

Gasly similarly cautioned that he and Ocon might have to remain “a little bit patient” while the Enstone outfit is unlocking more performance out of their car, which it felt was no longer possible with the 2023 concept.

“As Matt said, the only thing that remains from last year is the steering wheel. So when you start from a blank piece of paper, from scratch basically, there’s always more risk,” Gasly explained.

“But then, you’ve got to take risk at some point if you want to get bigger rewards, so that’s the strategy we decided to go for.

“We didn’t try the car yet, we’ve got to wait for Bahrain and get a first feel with it. But we know there is potential to unlock, we just might need to be a little bit patient.”

Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon, Alpine

Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon, Alpine

Photo by: Alpine

The wholesale changes mean Alpine is kicking off the season in a similar place as McLaren was in Baku last year, when a concept change didn’t initially bring performance but allowed the Woking squad to make dramatic strides with subsequent upgrade packages.

Gasly says McLaren’s story, and that of Aston Martin’s rapid improvements the preceding winter, are providing some hope that Alpine can make a similar jump down the road, having made dramatic personnel changes since the summer.

“I think definitely it shows in F1 it’s possible to have a big comeback through a season,” he added. “Obviously, it depends on which sort of performance you start the year, so I’m definitely hopeful.

“I can see the mentality in the team. I can see the spirit, I can see the recruitment. I see where we’re heading as a race team. We are making the right steps.

“Obviously, it’s not that simple in F1 when you come with a completely new concept, it might not provide all the rewards you expect from the beginning.

“You’ve just got to be open-minded about it. But looking at the others, we get inspired by what they’re doing. There are definitely a couple of stories from last season, which definitely brings hope and motivation to the entire team.”

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