Alpine F1 executive director Marcin Budkowski admitted that Fernando Alonso’s race to third place in the Qatar Grand Prix was played out with just a few bends.
The first Qatar Grand Prix proved to be a tall order for Pirelli tires due to a combination of high speed corners and aggressive curbs on the Losail International Circuit. Four punctures occurred in the race for Bottas, Norris and the two Williams of Russell and Latifi, who were attempting a one-stop strategy not recommended by Pirelli.
This was also the case for Fernando Alonso, 3rd, and Esteban Ocon, 5th. Budkowski acknowledges his team were also worried about whether the left front tire would hold up despite severe degradation.
« Everyone worked really hard to make this tire last until the last laps, so yeah, it was stressful, » he explains.
“We knew that if we stopped once more we wouldn’t get anything. We dealt with these tires quite early on, but we also understood that it was essential to avoid the shakes and we asked our riders to do it. »
“On the last lap I saw all the mechanics jump out of the garage to go to the track, I was like ‘no, no, no, there are still a few turns.’ Honestly, it was a matter of a few turns. to see if we could get there or not with the tire and Perez very threatening behind us. «
As to the fact that Pirelli advised against making a single stop, Budkowski replied that he was not concerned from a safety point of view as only the left front tire was critical.
“There was no safety issue. If you puncture the front tire you just lose the front and slip. A rear tire is a little different because if you lose a rear tire you can go to the rails and get off the track. «
« We were convinced that we were not putting anyone in danger, but we were putting our race and our points in danger if we had made a second stop. »