Poor pace led to decision to fit Alonso’s new power unit

2021 United States Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso says Alpine decided to fit a new power unit to his car – incurring a grid penalty – when it realised they were not competitive this weekend.

Both Alpine drivers subsequently failed to reach Q3, despite Alonso giving team mate Esteban Ocon the benefit of his slipstream on his final lap.

“We tried to work as a team a little bit, try to help there if I could,” said Alonso. “But we were not fast enough. It was a help, yes, but we are still missing a couple of tenths to be in the fight.”

Alonso, along with Sebastian Vettel and George Russell, will start from the back of the grid after having a new power unit fitted. This meant in Q2 he had to strike the balance of lapping more quickly than those drivers in order to start ahead of them, without setting a time quick enough for Q3, which would have forced him to start the race on used tyres.

“We had to to see if we could overtake George and Vettel somehow without [lapping too quickly] because you don’t want to set a too quick lap and then accidentally go to Q3 and then you start with the old tyres. So it was a tricky, tricky qualifying for everybody.

“The worst thing for us is that we didn’t have the pace this weekend in any of the practice [sessions]. We seemed uncompetitive. So we need to understand that.

“We changed the engine also for that reason, in a way, because we were not competitive this weekend. Reliability is still good, no issues there, so let’s see if tomorrow we can still score points from last.”

Alpine has more work to do to understand the step backwards it has taken at the Circuit of the Americas this weekend, said Alonso.

“After FP1 and FP2 we had some ideas on where we could improve the car. So overnight we did a lot of changes but this morning, [it was] still not as competitive as it was in the last two grands prix, so there’s still more analysis to be made.”

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2021 United States Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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