Last Formula 1 season, Alpine found themselves stuck in the middle of the field.
They are hoping to change that during the 2024 campaign, starting with an “aggressive” approach for the A524, their challenger for upcoming schedule.
The team unveiled the A524 at a live event on Wednesday, and outlined how they are approaching this season. A year ago, Alpine was truly struck in the middle of the grid, far enough ahead of Williams and the other teams at the bottom of the table to not feel threatened, but too far behind Aston Martin, McLaren and the other teams above them to believe a move in the standings was possible.
A big culprit? A lack of power in the A523. Their 2023 challenger was consistently the sixth-fastest car on the grid, clocking in around “around 0.9 seconds off the qualifying pace” of Red Bull’s RB19, the dominant package on the track last season. Things got so bad that the team appealed to the FIA during the season for a waiver in the rules, so they could improve the performance of their power unit. Alpine themselves noted that they found a deficiency of around 30 horsepower in the A523 to the other cars on the grid.
That appeal was denied, and the team was left to make the best of things.
Now, with a new season upon us, Alpine has taken a more “aggressive” stance with the A524.
““The A524 approach has been aggressive but deliberate in the fact we are creating a wider scope to add performance to the car,” said Matt Harman, the team’s Technical Director, in Alpine launch press kit. “We have really focused on learning and reacting to what we have learnt rather than on results.
“The project has been bold where we have focused on realising concepts, which we aim to add to the car. We’ve built ourselves a strong platform to add performance when we can and we have set ourselves targets to deliver those,” added Harman. “We have pushed some elements to the limit and, in some cases, beyond that. That is all in line with our approach and exactly what we have set out to achieve in progressing this project to the best possible level.”
Bruno Famin, who took over as Team Principal on an interim basis last year during the mid-season sacking of Otmar Szafnauer and will stay on in that role this year, is looking ahead to the next stage of the team’s journey, and what he calls “operational success” on the track.
“The next stage on our journey is deploying everything to the track, applying operational excellence across the board and growing a greater dynamic and mindset from all our teams. We are all very much looking forward to continuing the hard work to bring the Alpine name success,” said Famin.
Both Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly, who return to Alpine for another season, are excited to see what the A524 can really do on the track.
“It goes without saying that I am super excited for the season and I cannot wait to jump back in the car and go racing again,” said Ocon. “This time of the year is exciting as it is the moment we see what the team has produced. I have seen drawings, been on the simulator but, obviously, not yet seen or sampled the complete, real thing.
“That will wait until shakedown but it’s a nice moment for the team as it’s the culmination of thousands of hours of hard work. As a driver, it’s a goosebumps moment when you jump in a new car for the first time and release the pit limiter. That time is close now with the A524 and I really cannot wait to get started.”
For Gasly, whose birthday coincided with the launch of the A524, he feels in a much better place ahead of the 2024 campaign than he did a year ago.
“I would say that I am in a much better place right now than this time 12 months ago. I know exactly all the people I’m working with; I know all the processes and how to get the best out of those around me and out of myself. It is nice to have continuity and building on the foundations that we created last year,” said Gasly. “I’m feeling confident with the team I have around me. We have all been developing over the last year. Now I am confident that I can attack the season straight away and maximise the full potential of the team.”
While many F1 fans were left underwhelmed with the livery, as the team in recent days teased a bit more pink in the design, Alpine fans in particularly would gladly sacrifice pink on the A524, if it means more power in the A524.