Alpine Formula 1 team boss Otmar Szafnauer insists that CEO Laurent Rossi’s criticism of the squad is not piling the pressure on it going forward.
While it has scored points at three of the first five races, a best finish of eighth leaves it sitting sixth in the Constructors’ Championship behind McLaren.
A low point in the early part of the year came in Australia, where both Pierre Gasly and Esteban suffered terminal damage after coming together during a late-race standing restart, while reliability has also been a concern this year.
Rossi hit out at the F1 team on French TV, labelling some of its performances so far this year as “amateurish”.
The CEO also spoke to F1.com and insisted that there would be consequences enforced if its form doesn’t turn around soon.
It places Szafnauer right in the firing line as the Romanian-born engineer is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the F1 team.
However, he insists that Rossi’s comments are not altering the atmosphere within the team.
“Reading something like that in the paper puts no more pressure on, everyone wants to do well here,” Szafnauer said.
“They’re well experienced technicians and engineers at the highest level, and we put pressure on ourselves so we just have to fix it.
“I have no idea [why the comments were made], you’ll have to ask him, but I’ll be asking him. This weekend was busy that I haven’t had a chance yet.”
Alpine ended last year’s championship in fourth place, and is currently 14 points worse off compared to its tally this time last year.
Despite the rocky start, Szafnauer expressed confidence that Alpine can recapture strong form.
“Look, we underperformed in Baku, the drivers ran into each other in Australia, and at the first race, we had a myriad of penalties starting with Esteban being out of place,” he said.
“It hasn’t been a smooth start the season – I don’t know, maybe that’s why he made the comments.
“But I have to read them. All we can do is when we have issues like Baku is find and understand the root cause of what happened, and make sure we either put the process or the people in place, so that it doesn’t happen again.”