Alpine pace “difficult” to decipher – Alonso

Fernando Alonso has conceded it is “difficult” to assess the Formula 1 pecking order after only a wind-affected season-opener.

Last year, as Renault, Alpine finished fifth in the constructors’ championship after losing out in a ‘fight for third’ against McLaren and Racing Point.

The midfield this time around appears even closer, with Ferrari and AlphaTauri joining the battle in Bahrain.

Alpine left the season-opener with no points scored after a sandwich wrapper caught a brake duct forced Alonso to retire whilst Esteban Ocon struggled for pace, his race further damaged by contact with Sebastian Vettel.

Asked to assess Alpine’s pace, Alonso answered: “It’s difficult to say.

“I think we saw different results and a bit of mixed feelings for everybody including us. Sometimes we looked a little bit better, sometimes we looked a little bit down. It was the same for everybody so far.

“Even for the top teams and top guys. On Saturday we had an impression, on Friday we had an impression, after the race we had a different impression.”

In recent years, pre-season testing has taken place in Spain ahead of a curtain-raiser in Australia, but with the Melbourne race postponed this year until November, the test was moved to Bahrain in a bid to cut down travel.

The negative of this is that, aside from filming days, the 10 teams have completed running at only one venue and Alonso believes more circuits need to be sampled before a pecking order can be established.

He added: “Things are moving up and down for everybody so we will need a couple of races to really have a more established order of things.

“Let’s wait and see and meanwhile our job is to work hard and identify our weakness if there are any and work on those and keep our strengths. It’s an interesting season in front of everybody.”