Rossi: I’m proud of Alpine

Rossi: Proud of AlpineAlpine took their first podium finish of the Formula 1 season in Monaco on Sunday and Chief Executive Laurent Rossi, who warned of the consequences of failure after poor opening results, said he was proud of the performance.

Esteban Ocon’s third place in the most glamorous street race of the season, and what is effectively a home round for the Renault-owned team, relieved some of the pressure that was building up.

“I am happy. I am happy for the team,” the Frenchman told Reuters as he walked to the pitlane for a celebratory group photograph.

“I’m not going to say I want them to finish P3 every race, that would be unrealistic – I would love that, but we still have a lot of work to do to get there,” he added when asked if it was the kind of performance he expected.

“But yes, certainly be serious, applied, deliver a strong performance like they did this weekend – drivers, engineers, mechanics, everyone here at the track and in (the factories at) Enstone and Viry.

“That was solid, like in Miami. All I need is them to reproduce that.”

In Miami, the race before Monaco, Rossi warned he would make changes before the end of the season if performances did not improve, and said the buck stopped with team principal Otmar Szafnauer.

Frenchman Pierre Gasly finished eighth and compatriot Ocon ninth in that race, ending a run of two rounds without a point that saw last year’s fourth-placed finishers slump to sixth overall.

It was the team’s 50th race under the Alpine moniker

On Sunday, in Alpine’s 50th race under that branding, Gasly was seventh and the team overtook McLaren for fifth in the constructors’ standings.

“I’m proud of them and they should be proud too,” said Rossi. Asked whether his earlier criticism had a galvanising effect, he replied: “It’s a bit early to say that. It would be presumptuous to say it as well.

“But it had certainly one effect which is to say we were not going to be satisfied with this, there’s a couple of things we need to improve.

“The performance of the car, like I said back then, will take time. It needs regular updates, upgrades on the car, we will do it. Operational excellence, they did it and I’m glad. They also exhibited a very good mindset in the past two races, so whether it worked or not, they are doing what was missing so I’m happy,” Rossi added.

Ocon, a winner in Hungary in 2021 with Alpine, said his third career podium capped a “superb weekend” for the team and hoped it was the start of something bigger.

“From the simulator to really all the practice sessions, we improved the car from beginning to end and we didn’t make a wrong foot any time,” said the first Frenchman on the Monaco podium since Olivier Panis in 1996.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin)