Alpine suffered from an inconsistent 2021 campaign, but a shock maiden win for Esteban Ocon in Hungary and a podium for Fernando Alonso in Qatar gave the Enstone outfit the edge over AlphaTauri to clinch fifth in the constructors’ championship.
While it is clear Alpine has plenty of work to do to catch up with the likes of Ferrari and McLaren, who were miles ahead in the battle for third, team director Budkowski feels the team’s progress in the factory and the way it operated in 2021 is encouraging for 2022.
“Given that we’ve had the same engine pretty much for the last three years, the frozen chassis and gearbox for strategic reasons to invest our resources elsewhere, we’ve actually done pretty well with the platform that we had,” Budkowski said.
“Both at the track and in terms of developing the areas where we could, so it is very encouraging for next season. Now we know our numbers, but we don’t know other people’s numbers.”
The team went through a revamp last winter when it changed its name from Renault to Alpine and is poised to continue its management reshuffle this off-season.
Budkowski believes the changes behind the scenes are starting to bear fruit, even if they are not visible yet on the outside.
Oscar Piastri, Alpine A521
Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images
“I am certainly proud of the way the team works. It has changed an awful lot in the last few years and that change is starting to bear its fruits. It certainly does at the track, and it certainly does at the factory, even though it is not visible yet because our focus for more than two years has been next year’s car.
“But when I see the factory and all the work and interactions and all the people who we brought in over the last few years, it is looking good for next year.”
Budkowski admitted the team’s wild inconsistency needs to be addressed with its all-new car, with the radically different technical regulations for 2022 offering the opportunity of a complete reset.
“I think we’ve shown it this season that when opportunities came, we were able to deliver them, and there are a few races where we were not competitive and we didn’t really know why, so I knew we needed to sort this,” he added.
“There is a lot of work going on in the background to sort that, as there is a lot of work going on for the car and on the whole package. It is looking promising.”