Naomi Schiff, the Sky F1 pundit, believes the strides made by McLaren over the course of the F1 2023 season will “hurt” Alpine after the team failed to build on a promising 2022.
Alpine and McLaren were embroiled in a tense season-long battle for fourth place in the Constructors’ standings in 2022, with the former landing the best-of-the-rest spot behind Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.
However, after Alpine lost two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso to Aston Martin over the winter, the team have endured a more difficult 2023.
Alpine’s lack of stability has cost them in McLaren fight
Despite claiming two podium finishes – one apiece for Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly in Monaco and the Netherlands – Alpine sit a distant sixth in the Championship, 42 points adrift of fifth-placed McLaren, with eight rounds remaining.
The Enstone team have had a turbulent campaign both on and off track, with managerial reshuffles including the public firings of team principal Otmar Szafnauer and long-serving sporting director Alan Permane at July’s Belgian Grand Prix.
After a muted start to the campaign, meanwhile, McLaren have improved dramatically in recent months with Lando Norris claiming consecutive podiums
Appearing on Sky’s television coverage of the recent Italian GP, Schiff feels the lack of stability has counted against Alpine in their bid to inch closer to the front of the grid.
She said: “They have really high ambitions, they don’t want to just be fifth and sixth.
“They’ve come out at the beginning of the year with this pyramid plan to get to the top and clearly they’ve gone backwards as opposed to McLaren.
“If you see where McLaren are, that’s going to hurt.
“They’ve had so much senior leadership management change [and] that’s not going to be a good thing for them at this point of the season.
“Obviously, you want to get ahead of what you’re going to be able to do for next season – but as of the momentum they’re having right now, that’s going to change things up for them and it’s going to cause a lack of stability.”
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