What do we blame Alpine for?
This morning, at a press conference, the Alpine clan did not hide its pride in having given Toyota a hard time (see HERE). But since the Hyperpole yesterday, speculation has been rife in the paddock. In question, the time of Nicolas Lapierre, who traveled the 13.626 km of the circuit in 3’24”850, only 0”442 from pole. Until then, we could say that the BoP is perfect, since it is supposed to give equal chance of victory to competitors in the category in question. ” Glickenhaus is only a second behind and we are still a bit slower in the race “, Philippe Sinault whispered to us
Still, with 23 kW (32 horsepower) less than last year, Nico drove almost seven tenths faster. How to explain it? ” The track was good, and Nico benefited from the suction of a competitor before Mulsanne, we were assured. And never, last year, did he really try to tickle the clock, well aware that pole position was out of reach. »
This afternoon, the verdict fell: the ACO/FIA duo decided to review their Balance of Performance once again (see HERE). The power of the Alpine goes from 427 to 417 kW, a level lower than that enjoyed by the A480 during the Test Day and Wednesday, namely 420 kW.
Why this turnaround?
If this is an interpretation that commits only us, it sounds like a sanction. The tricolor team seems to be accused of having hidden its game to beg for a revision of the BoP in its favor between the Test Day and the day of Thursday.
” Setting up this BoP is a very complicated exercise, Philippe Sinault told us. Since the Test Day, the position of our car has been delicate. We were heard and they (the governing bodies. Editor’s note) helped us by returning the car to the correct window. Result, we are 3rd, four tenths behind Toyota. To the question of whether we have hidden our game, it goes without saying that we have not. I know this sport too well, and if I had wanted to proceed like this, I would have waited until the race to reveal my cards and would not have played Hyperpole. “Hard to argue…
And this time signed by his favorite driver, did he expect it? ” Nope, replied our interlocutor. We got closer than we imagined. We thought we would finish at one second, one and a half seconds. But during this lap, we lined up and Nico benefited from an incredible draft before Indianapolis. »
And this before continuing: There are rules and a referee who makes decisions that we respect. But this one we don’t understand. I find readjustment hard. »
It could indeed have very harmful consequences for the Matthieu Vaxiviere-Nicolas Lapierre-André Negrao trio… and for the race itself. But above all, what Philippe Sinault does not want is that we “ question our loyalty », and at the same time the sporting spirit of his entity.
What consequences for Alpine?
Not being able to say, we simply asked the question to Philippe Sinault to find out for sure. And to believe the person concerned, they would be worrying.
” I think we will concede a deficit of two seconds per lap, and that we will not do 12 but 11 laps per relay, he laments. And we will complete not one less well two less than Toyota by relay. »
What, on a regular basis, further reduce the chances of victory for the n°36, already slim as Toyota dominates its subject in the Sarthe. In pure performance, it should be placed behind the two Glickenhaus. ” And we should have trouble overtaking the LMP2s, which will greatly complicate our task in traffic slipped us one of the three pilots. Among the Blues, more than ever, we say we are condemned to a waiting race.
What to think of this imbrOglio?
Often, we journalists are asked about the decisions made by the legislator regarding the BoP. But we do not have access to all the data analyzes on which it is based. No more than the directives dictated by the teams to their pilots. Even for us, the gray area is significant… In GTE Pro, it’s clear, none of the three manufacturers played the Hyperpole thoroughly. Nick Tandy (Corvette C8.R) took pole in 3’49”985. A time to compare with pole last year (3’46”011) and the best lap in the race (3’47”501). Laughable isn’t it?
But what about Hypercar? Did the Alpine team hide their game until the third free practice session? This is what the legislator seems to think, surprised by the time difference between EL3 and Hyperpole: – 4”4. Which is huge, even if you have to take into account a more “aggressive” setting for the Hyperpole.
One thing is certain, this debate around the Balance of Performance is polluting this 90th edition, which is much more interesting than it seems, in addition to giving a bitter aftertaste to this yet so exciting Hyperpole to which we have been given to attend yesterday. And that, we deeply regret! Already complex to implement in GTE, this stratagem totally contrary to the fundamentals of motorsport seems even more difficult to manage in the queen category.
All these debates and the taking power of politics over athletes cast a shadow over our favorite sport. Are we letting competitors cry too much? Is the BoP system simply adapted and mastered? While Endurance has everything to live for, these next few years, one of the best eras in its history, be careful not to ruin everything…
Many manufacturers – and not the least! – are approaching. Some with non-permanent four-wheel drive, others with simple propulsion, with different tire sizes, different concepts… But all expect to have a chance to win every race weekend. , as the BoP suggests to them.
But we have a scoop, at the end of each event there will only be one winner… Will the disappointed then all go and cry foul to the legislator? Is that really what fans want to see? Judging by your reactions on social media, that doesn’t seem to be the case. It is on the track and not behind the scenes that the fight for the win must take place…
#Analysis #Alpines #BoP #revised #reaction #Philippe #Sinault