Formula One

Alpine team boss still puzzled over Fernando Alonso's impressive pace in Canada

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Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso

Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer has admitted that the team's computers have not yet determined why Fernando Alonso was so fast during the Canadian Grand Prix weekend.

It seems the Spaniard surprised just about everyone when he grabbed a front-row start in qualifying in Montreal. However, an engine issue would ultimately consign him to a seventh-place finish - later reduced to ninth due to a post-race time penalty.

Nevertheless, his impressive pace throughout the practise sessions, his second place in qualifying and his early-race challenge have left his team scrambling to figure out the exact reason.

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Fernando Alonso during qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix

It was good, but let's be realistic

"It's a very good question," Szafnauer said when asked where Alonso's pace had come from.

"With all the computers we have, and there are many, we are still trying to understand the differences. Part of the reason is that he was great in the rain, but he had already been quick on Friday. It wasn't just Saturday. Another part is the circumstances, the track is drying up, and there are many variables."

As for the engine issue that derailed his challenge in the race, Szafnauer said it was likely related to an air leak.

"I'm not sure it only happened to him," he said. "Although it looks like it. Fernando had a problem, a leak in the power unit. Fortunately, it was not so serious that he retired."

Szafnauer also called for people to be realistic regarding Alpine's prospects for the remainder of the season.

"The pace of the car in the rain was good. In the dry, we thought that we wouldn't be as fast as Ferrari and Red Bull, but that we would be with Mercedes. Then they overtook us. But we must be realistic. We are not going to finish third in the Constructors' Championship. I hope we can fight again with Mercedes; it's a couple of tenths. The engines are even, and the difference is in the aerodynamic load."


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