Alpine boss comments on risk of Fernando Alonso causing trouble at the team

If Alpine do challenge for the top three next season, Fernando Alonso will not be there for it.

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer wants to secure fourth position in the Constructors’ Standings in the final part of 2022, but is not convinced third is possible.

Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon have managed 19 points finishes between them so far this season, and the French side recently moved above McLaren and into fourth.

P4 in the Constructors’ Standings is now looking like the best of the rest despite a rough start to the season for Mercedes, who looked in danger of being swallowed up by some of the midfield runners.

READ: ‘He has to blame himself’: Otmar Szafnauer branded a ‘sore loser’ over Oscar Piastri saga

Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have been on top form all season though, and the German side are starting to give them a solid car to boot, so they have established themselves as part of the top three along with Red Bull and Ferrari.

It means that third for Alpine is looking like an uphill task, but McLaren are not going to make obtaining fourth easy for the Enstone-based side either.

Perhaps proving a further difficulty is the Alonso situation after the Spaniard was announced as a replacement for Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin next season.

The German’s retirement led Szafnauer to ask Alonso during the Hungarian Grand Prix if he had signed any deals with anyone else, and he said no.

One day after the race, however, the British side confirmed that they had signed the 41-year-old, and Szafnauer only found out through Aston Martin’s press release.

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Suffice to say this will make things a little awkward, but the Romanian-American does not think Alonso will be a problem passenger from now until the end of the season.

“I have absolutely no worries about the rest of the season,” said Szafnauer, as per Autosport.

“Our goals are pretty clear, we want to finish at least fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, I think third is a step too far.

“Fernando realises that too, he’s a professional, he’s a competitor. 

“Once he puts that helmet on, you know as well as I do he wants to do the best he can, if not win.

“And there is nothing else that goes through his mind when he’s in the racing car apart from finishing as high as he can in that race and in the championship.

“And he still has that drive, it’s what he’s here to do and I’m the same.”

READ: Alpine boss suggests Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso played role in Oscar Piastri fallout

Szafnauer also confirmed that there will be a constant flow of evolution on the 2022 car as Alpine look to lock up fourth.

“I want to do absolutely the best we can, and especially this year, our upgrades are still coming very fast,” he explained.

“We’ll have another upgrade at Spa and will continue to upgrade the car until the end of the year, and Fernando understands that too.

“And he will work hard, as will Esteban to maximise the performance of the team, I have no doubt about that.”

Alpine lead McLaren by just four points in the battle for fourth in the Constructors’ Standings after 13 rounds of the 2022 season.