The inaugural Qatar Grand Prix proved to be a big problem for the Pirelli tyres resulting from a mix of high-speed corners and aggressive kerbs on the Losail Worldwide Circuit.
Throughout Sunday’s race, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, McLaren driver Lando Norris and each Williams vehicles of George Russell and Nicholas Latifi all suffered left-front tyre failures as they tried what Pirelli known as a “marginal” one-stop technique.
After the race, Pirelli vowed to launch an investigation into the 4 tyre failures, suggesting they “might be the results of very excessive put on mixed with high-speed impacts towards kerbs which can be very aggressive at Losail.”
Alpine’s govt director Budkowski admitted that his crew was additionally involved about whether or not Alonso’s left-front tyre would maintain amid excessive degradation.
Alonso and teammate Esteban Ocon each opted for a one-stop technique on their runs to 3rd and fifth, Alpine’s greatest outcome since profitable the Hungarian Grand Prix earlier than the summer time break.
The crew realised there was no manner again as soon as its drivers had dedicated to a one-stopper and it due to this fact instructed them early on to remain off the kerbs and handle the tyres.
However that cautious strategy additionally put Alonso and Ocon underneath risk from Purple Bull’s two-stopping Sergio Perez. The Mexican managed to cross Ocon for fourth however completed 2.8 seconds shy of Alonso, having began the ultimate tour 5 seconds behind.
“All people actually labored onerous to make that tyre final till the previous couple of laps, so yeah, it was disturbing,” Budkowski mentioned.
“We knew if we stopped we would not get something. We managed these tyres fairly early, but in addition we understood that avoiding the kerbs was key and we instructed our drivers to try this.
“On the final lap I noticed all of the mechanics leaping on the grid, I used to be like ‘no, no, no, there’s a few extra corners left’. Simply because we… truthfully it was a query of some corners whether or not we might make it or not.”
Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon, Alpine have a good time with the crew
Photograph by: Alpine
Budkowski added that he wasn’t apprehensive from a security perspective provided that it was solely the left-front tyre that was important.
“Look, there was no security concern. If you happen to puncture the entrance tyre, you simply lose the entrance finish and also you slide,” he defined.
“The rear tyre is a bit completely different as a result of for those who lose a rear tyre, you would possibly spin and go off observe.
“We have been assured we’re not placing anybody in danger there however clearly, we’re placing our race and our factors in danger.”
Alonso, who secured his first podium since 2014, mentioned he wasn’t fascinated with potential failures from the cockpit, and thought he nonetheless had a bit of additional margin.
“I do not know, I do not assume it was too dangerous for us,” he mentioned.
“Evidently our automotive is type on tyres. We did a one-stop additionally in Brazil final week and I believe we had some margin to maintain pushing slightly bit extra, however you by no means know.”