“If you were told before the last round that you could win both titles at the start of the season, would you have believed it?
No, probably not. I would not believe it, even if I hoped so in my heart. We take this as an incredible opportunity and hope it will be a real party. When I set up this program in Hypercar two years ago, quite confusingly, it was quite unexpected to think of coming into the final race in this position. We are very impatient, happy, very excited.
How do you rate this season?
Even if there is no title at the end, it is positive. We are aware of the size of our project compared to Toyota, the different tools. We hoped that we could be a pebble in their place, and we succeeded. We have two wins, we just missed the podium at Le Mans, so yes, we are satisfied.
BoP (Balance of Performance) was a big part of the season. What is your point of view?
As for sports ethics, that worries me and we’re not big fans of the BoP on paper. Sometimes we feel like we are drifting away from the sport. But thanks to him, our car was able to work in the Hypercar category, and many manufacturers will come. Therefore, we cannot condemn it and say that we are against it. But you have to manage it well. And sometimes, this year, it hasn’t been easy. Our car is so different from Toyota or Glickenhaus that we knew it would be very complicated.
With BoP, you inevitably put pressure on the system. And at Le Mans, everyone fell off the carpet. We had to scare away some people who thought there was more under our feet than reality. We regret this correction before the race. But under the pressure of what was at stake, everyone panicked a little.
“The pressure I can exert is negligible compared to Porsche and Ferrari”
Aren’t you afraid that with the arrival of new manufacturers in 2023, and then in 2024, it will become even more difficult to manage and explain?
No, I think it will even be easier because the different cars on the track will be of a common specification. Our Alpine, in the absolute sense, should never have faced a Toyota. But of course you have to be very careful. Because the pressure I can do is very less compared to Porsche and Ferrari.
Alpine A480 will have its last race on Saturday in Bahrain. (S. Boué/Team)
In retrospect, was it a good idea to enter LMP1 in the Hypercar category?
Yes, and it was very helpful for all the actors. For us, of course, because it allowed us to prepare for 2024 and convince Alpine that we should stay in endurance for a few years. As for the public, no doubt the experts were worried about all this, but the general public saw beyond it. Seeing the outpouring of sympathy and support we’ve received, I think the deal is done. They saw that every now and then an Alpine was fighting with the Toyotas, which made them happy. At the beginning of the project, we fought because “we have space”. And our results showed that we have. Just imagine these two years without the Alps…
“I would have preferred to be in Hypercar in 2023, but it was not technically possible to be ready next year”
What will your team do in 2023?
We will adapt in LMP2. I would have preferred to be in Hypercar, but technically it was not possible to be ready next year. With the F1 team in great demand recently in the new regulations, we needed support and technical bridges. For 2023, it seemed preferable to us to do racing rather than just development. It remains the best way to learn and progress. It’s the centenary of Le Mans that we don’t want to miss. As for the pilots, our desire is to continue with the same ones, but there may be adjustments. Some will focus more on Hypercar development and others on racing. This will certainly be an opportunity to integrate new faces into the program.
As for the 2024 Hypercar project, what stage of development are you at?
Six months have already passed since the start of our cooperation with Viry teams. There are daily meetings. Our intervention mainly concerns the chassis part, engine integration and aerocol. Alpine Racing and Oreca are the two main contractors of the project, they rely on our experience, we act as a link to define the technical package more precisely. We are also preparing the entire 2023 test and development program from our side. This is where we will add value, in a very empirical way. »