Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer is confident that the team can fight Mercedes as the development battle looks set to ramp up. It was a difficult end to the Australian Grand Prix weekend for the French manufacturer, with Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon making contact on the penultimate race restart and both retiring from the running due to the damage sustained. However, speaking before the race, Szafnauer voiced his belief that forthcoming upgrades will help Alpine to challenge their rivals, who will also be bringing new parts in the races ahead. Alpine ready to fight Mercedes When asked if Mercedes will be too far ahead for Alpine to battle with them, Szafnauer told media, including : “No, we think we can fight with them. “We too have a decent-size upgrade coming for Baku and then a little bit more only a week later in Miami, so we continue to push the upgrades out. “The important thing is that they all work when we put them on the car and we have good correlation with our simulation tools. “We had good correlation last year and if that continues and if we continue to push the upgrades, we’ll take that development fight over the season to the others around us.” Szafnauer confident of Alpine’s development rate Szafnauer believes that Alpine can develop their car at a strong rate in 2023, having felt that the team did well in this area during the previous season. However, he admits that they do not yet know how Mercedes will benefit from their respective upgrades. “We’re going to develop at the highest rate possible for our team,” Szafnauer added. “It’s really hard to know what [Mercedes] will bring. Last year, if I look back, I think our development rate was pretty good, and if we can keep up the same this year, I think we should, over the year, get closer. “[It’s] really hard to know. As you know, it’s a relative game. I know what we’ve got coming. What I don’t know is what they have coming.”

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