Marcin budkowski (Warsaw, 44 years old), the head of the Alpine F1 Team, was personally in charge of initiating the group applause for Fernando Alonso before the photo of the whole team, in front of the ‘hospitality’. The Asturian’s third place in the Qatar GP marks the team’s second podium after Ocon’s triumph in Hungary, a booty that almost secured fifth place in the constructors’ championship. But beyond the numbers, Fernando’s return to the ‘drawer’ is, above all, the umpteenth confirmation that his return to the World Cup made perfect sense. The plan is to progress in 2022 with a car capable of doing this more often, that is what the French engineer of Polish origin commented in a chat with AS, still with champagne on hand.

– Did you expect this podium?

– I do not know. In a race you are always hopeful, but we had cars behind that would probably overtake us. When you ride in a podium position, your goal is always to defend it, but we knew it was difficult. We believed that the one-stop strategy was the fastest. It was difficult and it was stressful.

– In the last ‘stint’, were you clear that Fernando would go all the way with Checo behind?

– It wasn’t clear at all. It was clear that if he went all the way, we could beat Checo. But we weren’t sure that he was going to finish the race, even if he was managing the tires well. Keeping the tire alive required a lot of care on the tires and also Checo was coming from behind. We were more concerned about the life of the wheels than the pressure from Pérez.

– It’s the icing on the cake to a great season of return from Fernando, right?

– It is a well-deserved podium for a long time. He drove in a fantastic way in several races and completed performances that well deserved a podium. It is good to be able to fulfill it in Qatar. There are still two races to go and we have to make sure we put in good performances to protect fifth place in the Constructors’ World Cup.

– You missed a few races to closely follow the factory jobs. How’s the 2022 car going?

– I have spent most of the time in the factory because there are many things going on for next year. What we show with this podium is that when we have the opportunity in our hands, we deliver on the track. Now we just need a faster package that will allow us to get on the podium and win races more often next year.

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