Fernando Alonso’s season hasn’t started the way the Spaniard would’ve wanted, after scoring just two points from the opening five rounds despite having shown impressive pace.
The 40-year-old’s season has been ridiculed by reliability issues, however, at the recent Miami Grand Prix he was to blame for not finishing in the points.
The Alpine F1 Team driver initially crossed the line in eighth, but after the race though he was dropped to eleventh after accumulating two separate five-second time penalties.
The first was for an overambitious move on Pierre Gasly, which damaged the AlphaTauri driver’s car, whilst the second was for gaining an advantage off-circuit.
Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer insists that “better times will come” for Alonso.
“It’s very frustrating, of course, but he’s fine and we all want more, both us and Fernando,” he said.
“In Miami he should have been further ahead, Q3 was a narrow escape because he was blocked by Sainz, and if you start at the front the race is completely different, because we had the pace of a Bottas or Hamilton on one lap.
“We have to put it all together with Fernando. We will do it in the short run and score more points.
“It’s frustrating, but better times will come. The good thing is that the package is working. The other things we can work on.”
The Spaniard is in desperate need of some points finishes, with highly rated reserve driver Oscar Piastri being rumoured to be replacing him next season.
The 2021 Formula 2 World Champion, who is now Alpine’s official reserve driver, is waiting in the wings for his chance to crack Formula 1.
Only Alonso can be replaced at Alpine, as team-mate Esteban Ocon is already contracted for 2023.
With the speculation circulating, Szafnauer recently told Motorsport.com that a decision will be made around the time the sport gets to the British Grand Prix.
“We haven’t thought that through yet, because it’s a little bit early, but around Silverstone we will probably be talking about it.”
Piastri might be making the leap to Formula 1 sooner than next season though, the Australian is being pondered as a potential replacement for Nicholas Latifi, with the Williams driver continuing to underperform.
Speculation is growing that Latifi will be getting replaced by Williams halfway through the season; the Canadian is being out-performed by team-mate Alex Albon on an every Grand Prix basis.
“I don’t know what’s happening at Williams, but I’ve heard the rumours,” Szafnauer added.
“In the past, when McLaren have come to us and said, ‘Hey, can we use him [Piastri] as a reserve driver?’, we said yes.
“The reason for that is, the more seat time that he can get instead of sitting out, the better. So we would have that strategically in mind. But as far as what’s happening at Williams, I don’t know.”