Alpine Technical Director Matt Harman has revealed the team is set to bring an upgrade package to the opening round of the 2023 Formula 1 season in Bahrain as it aims to move closer to the top three.
The Anglo-French outfit endured a rather subdued testing period, with neither Pierre Gasly nor Esteban Ocon being classified high up on the timesheets at any stage across the three days.
However, Alpine’s absence at the front was attributed to a running programme that saw them elect to run out of sync with the other teams by failing to utilise the softer compound of tires.
Instead, it preferred to conduct race simulations to understand its new A523 package, and Harman has expressed that the entire team is pleased with the potential shown.
“We have a level of confidence,” Harman expressed. “Of course we do because we’re clearly not running the car at its full potential.
“I don’t like to labour on that too much, because I have no idea where the others are running, to be quite honest. We do our analysis, we all know we are looking at each other, and where we are.
“There’s a massive level of uncertainty in that. But from our point of view things are responding as we expected, our aerodynamics are working as we expected.
“We’ve tried some quite interesting different developments this week, and they’ve proved to be quite positive,” he added. “So we’re looking forward to the first race.”
While finishing fourth in last season’s Constructors’ standings marked the Renault Group’s highest ranking in four years, Alpine still remained a huge 342 points behind Mercedes in third.
The team previously revealed its objective for the upcoming season was to retain the fourth position it earned last year and reduce the large deficit to the runaway front-running trio of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull.
Subsequently, the team spoke at the launch of its 2023 car about its plans to adopt an aggressive development plan in order to achieve its ambitious goals for the year.
The Enstone side’s technical chief has now talked about Alpine’s plan to unleash an upgrade package immediately out of the blocks for the first race of the season.
“There’ll be some visual differences to the first race,” Harman disclosed. “We’ve got quite a nice upgrade going on, and hopefully that’ll help with our with our quest at getting closer to that third position, if not being in that position.”
“Moving forward with what we learned this week to not only improve the car for the first race itself, but also with development we know we want to be aggressive, as we were last year, if not more so.”
Alpine took a much different approach to its rivals last season by opting to bring smaller development parts to almost every race rather than making major revisions several weekends apart.
It proved a successful strategy as it enabled the team to overhaul McLaren both in the development race and in the standings, with Harman expressing hope that Alpine can continue to develop at a similarly rapid rate throughout 2023.
“It may not be at every race because I think as the cars are evolving, they’re becoming more integrated and therefore the packages that you need to bring need to be a little bit more widespread,” he warned.
“But fundamentally, there will be an attempt to try and develop something at every race, even if it’s not bodywork or things that you see visually, but things that you maybe can’t see that will give us lap time. So that’s our intent.
“As we said before, we were quite proud of that last year and we’ve got the same resources, we’ve got the same finances, if not slightly better so it’s just down to us to get through that work, really.”