“There’s an element of luck, but it’s not everything. You can be a bit lucky at the start, and then you still have to deliver on it. As a team it’s credit to all the work that people have done, but also the fact that these are defining moments in the life of the team. However, let’s not get carried away.
“We don’t have a race-winning car on a normal race weekend. And that’s our objective, is to build one. So we want to taste that champagne in every race, and not once when we get a little bit of favourable circumstances. So super important for the team, don’t get me wrong. The objective is to do that by building a quick car.”
The hope is that will happen in 2022 under the new rules. At the moment the team is somewhat compromised, especially on the power unit side. Of late it hasn’t made the progress that some of its rivals have, and is instead anticipating a leap forward next year with a major PU upgrade.
“We all have our competitive analysis,” Budkowski noted. “And we have a fairly good idea of where we stack in terms of both power, but also in terms of energy management, and weight and packaging and things like this.
“The amount of work doesn’t change, it’s the amount of disappointment” Budkowski
“It’s the same engine we’re using for the third consecutive year, with very, very small changes in 2020 and 2021. It’s a ’19 engine we’re using. And some of our competitors made gains that we haven’t. And to be honest, it’s also the same chassis and the same gearbox as well. So the mechanical base of the car is the same for three years now.
“The choice was driven by the fact that we were planning to introduce all new engine in 2021, together with the new chassis regulations. Chassis regulations have been delayed, we have also delayed the introduction of that new engine to 2022. Because unfortunately, with the factory closures and the working from home requirements we had last year, we were just unable to deliver it for 2021.
“So we’re in a slightly not ideal situation where we had to delay our new power unit, which beyond improvements to propulsive power and energy management, the kind of usual things that make you go quicker on a straight line, has also a new architecture and changes that are designed to address some of our weaknesses compared to our competitors.
Now back on top of his car issues, Budkowski hopes Ocon can kick on with the team when the regs change next years
Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
“But we didn’t have the resources to re-launch a development programme on this year’s engine, and continue to work on the 2022. So we’ve decided to put all our efforts on ’22. So it’s a strategic decision. I believe it’s the right one. But it’s painful, because as a result this year we lost ground compared to our competitors.”
The new rules, a new engine and the increasing impact of the budget cap on rivals Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari all give Alpine some real cause for hope. Everyone knows that the Hungarian success was about grabbing the opportunity on the day, but it will also encourage all involved to raise their games even further.
“Someone once said, I can’t remember who it was, the amount of work doesn’t change, it’s the amount of disappointment,” said Budkowski. “Because up and down the grid, whether it’s Haas or Williams, or Red Bull or Mercedes, everybody works very hard. And that’s the case at Alpine as well.
“And that hard work sometimes gives you incredible satisfaction like today, and sometimes it’s really tough, and it’s just good that sometimes you have that opportunity to taste this. And all it gives you is to make you want more.”