Alpine Looks To 2026 As Next Greatest Opportunity

F1
by Adam OndrikMonday, 22 January 2024 at 05:00
gasly pierre alpine car35
The technical director of Alpine, Mat Harman, revealed his team has got "some big ideas" for the 2026 season.
Whenever new regulations are introduced to F1, there is a pretty high chance they will influence the current pecking order. The last time new significant regulations were introduced was in 2022.
It seemed Alpine was off to a good start as the team went from finishing fifth in 2021 to finishing fourth in 2022. However, the French team somehow lost advantage over their closest rivals and fell to sixth place in 2023.
The main problem that the team currently faces is the weak performance of their power unit. While the team tries to improve some of its shortcomings, it is against the odds that Alpine will be able to compete for the Championship in the upcoming two seasons.
Therefore, the team has already identified their next big opportunity, which is the season 2026, when the next significant change in regulations takes place. F1 quoted the team's technical director as saying:

"Our focus is on the future and the 2026 regs as well as the cars we need to do between now and then. We have got some big ideas for that [2026]."

The French team has two top-tier drivers, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly, who managed to deliver two podiums even with the sixth-fastest car.
Therefore, it would have been very interesting to see Alpine with a more competitive car, neck and neck, with teams like Red Bull or Mercedes. Harman added:

"We have also got a big programme at both sites [their engine base at Viry, France, and their chassis HQ at Enstone, in the UK], to improve the capabilities and functions."

While it is not likely we will see Alpine compete for the race wins in 2024, it certainly is possible. Teams like Aston Martin and McLaren have shown last season that big development steps forward are possible.
So let's not discount Alpine before we see their new car (that will be unveiled on 7.2.2024) on track during the first race in Bahrain that takes place on the 2nd of March.