Philippe Sinault (Alpine): “We are very impatient, delighted, excited”

“If you had been told at the beginning of the season that you could win both titles before the last round, would you have believed it?
No, probably not. I wouldn’t have believed it, although deep down I expected it. We take this opportunity as an amazing opportunity and we hope it will be a real party. When we set up this program in Hypercar two years ago, in a rather complicated way, to think about reaching the last race in this position, it was quite unexpected. We are very impatient, delighted, overexcited.

How do you rate this season?
It is positive, even if there is no title at the end. We are aware of the dimension of our project with respect to Toyota, of the different media. We hoped we could be the pebble in his shoe and we succeeded. We have two wins, we just missed the podium at Le Mans, so yes we are satisfied.

The BoP (Balance of Performance) was a big part of the season. What is your point of view?
As for sports ethics, it certainly bothers me, and we’re not big fans, on paper, of the BoP. Sometimes we feel like we’re walking away from the sport. But thanks to her, our car was able to drive in the Hypercar category, and many manufacturers will come. So we cannot denounce it and say 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 a Toyota or a Glickenhaus that we knew it would be very complicated.

With BdP, you inevitably put pressure on the system. And at Le Mans everyone tripped over the carpet. We had to scare some people, who thought we had a lot more under our feet than we actually did. We regret this readjustment before the race. But under the pressure of what was at stake, everyone panicked a little.

“The pressure I was able to exert is probably insignificant compared to what Porsche and Ferrari will put”

Aren’t you afraid that with the arrival of new manufacturers in 2023 and then 2024, it will be even more complicated to manage and explain?
No, I even think it will be easier, because the different cars on the track will correspond to a common specification. Our Alpine, in absolute terms, should never have faced the Toyotas. But of course you have to be very careful. Because the pressure I was able to put is probably minimal compared to what Porsche and Ferrari will put.

The Alpine A480 will contest its final race on Saturday in Bahrain.  (S. Boué/The team)

The Alpine A480 will contest its final race on Saturday in Bahrain. (S. Boué/The team)

Looking back, was it a good idea to introduce an LMP1 into the Hypercar category?
Yes, and it was very profitable for all 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, the pundits were no doubt upset by it all, but the general public saw past it. When we see the marks of sympathy and support we have received, I believe that the contract has been fulfilled. They saw that every now and then an Alpine would fight with the Toyotas, and that made them happy. We struggled at the beginning of the project to say “we have our place”. And our results proved that we had. You just have to imagine these two years without the Alpine…

“I would have preferred to be in Hypercar in 2023, but it was technically not possible to be ready next year”

What will your team do in 2023?
We will be lined up in LMP2. I would have preferred to be in Hypercar, but it was technically not possible to be ready next year. We needed support and technical bridges with the F1 team, which has been in high demand recently in the new regulations. For 2023, we found it preferable to do racing rather than just development. It remains the best way to learn and progress. There is the centenary of Le Mans which we did not want to miss. As for the pilots, our intention is to continue with the same ones, but there could be adjustments. Some will be more focused on Hypercar development, others on racing. It will undoubtedly be an opportunity to integrate new faces into the program.

Regarding the 2024 Hypercar project, what stage of development are you at?
It’s been six months since our collaboration with the Viry teams began. There are daily appointments. Our intervention mainly concerns the part of the chassis, the integration of the engine and the aeronautics. Alpine Racing and Oreca are the two main contractors of the project, they rely on our experience, we serve as a link to define the technical package more precisely. And for our part we are also preparing the entire test and development program for 2023. This is where we will bring the added value, in a very empirical way on the track. »

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