Alonso: Alpine has lost ‘too much ground’ to McLaren

Fernando Alonso says that Alpine’s gap to McLaren this season exceeded its expectations based on the two teams’ relative performance in 2020.

The Enstone squad, racing under the Renault banner last year, finished fifth in the Constructors’ standings but was in the running for a spot on the podium along with midfield rivals McLaren and Racing Point up until F1’s finale in Abu Dhabi.

Ultimately, McLaren finished ‘best of the rest’ in the championship, just seven points ahead of Racing Point and 21 points in front of Renault.

During the winter, Alonso says that the rebranded Alpine team projected another close fight with McLaren while it also anticipated a resurgence from Ferrari.

But halfway through this year’s campaign, McLaren and Ferrari are on their own at the head of the midfield thanks to their progress, with Alpine trailing the duo by 86 points.

“I think the expectations or our ambitions at the beginning of the year was to repeat what Renault was able to do last year,” Alonso said recently in Hungary

“Having in mind that Ferrari had a very strange 2020 season with quite low performance, we were expecting that maybe Ferrari was ahead of us. But it’s true as well that we lost a little bit too much ground with McLaren.

“That Renault was fighting with McLaren until the last race last year and we are not able to do that this year.”

Alpine rejoiced in Esteban Ocon’s shock win at the Hungaroring which the team owed to the Frenchman’s impeccable performance but especially to the lucky circumstances that conditioned the race from the outset.

However, Alonso noted that an analysis of Alpine’s relative performance this year compared to 2020 revealed that the team had narrowed the gap to F1’s front-runners, namely Mercedes and Red Bull.

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“Looking and analysing all the numbers in a way, we reduced the gap with Mercedes and with some of the opposition,” Alonso said.

“So even if we are P7 in the constructors’ championship, we reduced the gap with the leaders and that’s how tight everything became. From ninth to the top, everyone is closer.

“The same with Aston Martin, Racing Point last year was fighting for podiums and even won one grand prix and this year we are closer to them.

“So yeah, it was a bit up and down for all the teams, for us as well, but unfortunately we lost a couple of positions in the constructors’ championship because the three teams that finished behind Renault last year are the three teams that have improved most.”

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