Alpine's poor performance on the fast straights at Monza, as described by Pierre Gasly, made for a "super painful" race for the French squad. Both Pierre Gasly and his teammate Esteban Ocon were unable to advance beyond the first qualifying session (Q1) and secured the 17th and 18th positions, respectively, for the Italian Grand Prix. Gasly finished 15th, just escaping being lapped by race winner Max Verstappen, while Ocon's vehicle was retired early due to a steering lock problem. Gasly elucidated that Alpine had anticipated encountering difficulties at the Monza circuit. Yet, this did not mitigate the impact of their performance throughout the weekend. On a day when degradation was worse than anticipated, Gasly was the first to pit due to tyre life issues. He attempted a two-stop to go to the finish line, but he made very little ground.
F1: What did the Team Say?
In the post-race interview, the Alpine Interim Team Principal said, "After the high of Zandvoort exactly one week ago, we leave Monza on the back of a very difficult result and general performance level. We entered the weekend knowing it was going to be a challenge given the nature of the track, and that proved to be the case. As a team, it has certainly been a weekend full of learning, which we can take forward to future events on circuits with a similar configuration to here in Monza. On that front, we can remain positive and as a team, we will regroup ahead of the next race in Singapore.”
Pierre Gasly who finished on the podium in the previous weekend's Dutch Grand Prix had this to say about his disappointing Monza Race finish, "It’s not been our weekend, that is for sure, and it’s always a disappointing feeling when you leave without scoring points. We were simply not fast enough at this circuit to have any success and, of course, we will take this as a big learning going forward and to see what we can do better next time on this type of track. We gave it our all out there today but fifteenth place seemed to be our maximum. We have a lot of work ahead and I’m definitely looking forward to Singapore for the next race. I’m sure we can be more competitive at the next run of Grands Prix."
F1: Underpowered Renault F1 Power Unit
After Gasly's podium finish at Zandvoort, when the Frenchman bested the Ferraris who were now vying for the podium themselves, Alpine's fortunes quickly deteriorated in Italy. It showed that Alpine has a pattern of underperforming at low-downforce tracks, which Gasly believes the team will acknowledge so that its deficiencies can be addressed in 2024. There have been rumours that Alpine's power unit is 30bhp less on power than its competitors' engines. While this might be a contributing cause, the team's inefficiency is also likely to blame.
In 2022, just before the engine specs were to be homologated and stay constant until the following ruleset in 2026 (apart from reliability upgrades), Alpine took a risk by completely redesigning the Renault engine. The team reasoned that the engine disadvantage that had built up during 2021 might be made up for by the new design in the 2022 season. Until the 2025 season, the F1 engine has been frozen, making it impossible for Alpine and Renault to catch up to the competition.