Formula One

Ocon says Alpine surge possible, ‘or no point racing’


Esteban Ocon is convinced that Alpine can match Aston Martin’s recent surge in performance – otherwise, what’s the point of even going racing?

Alpine finished the 2022 season in fourth place in the constructors championship, beating McLaren to be the ‘best of the midfield” behind the Big Three teams of Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.

But this year they’ve slipped back in the standings after three races and are currently in sixth place, while the rival Aston Martin squad has streaked ahead and is currently in runners-up spot behind the dominant Red Bull squad.

Far from being disheartened about this, Ocon says that it shows teams are capable of making significant progress in just a few months, and that it should be an inspiration to Alpine for the rest of 2023.

“We have to in our mind think it is possible, otherwise there’s no point racing,” Ocon replied when asked by the media whether Alpine can reproduce the sudden spurt in performance shown by Aston.

“Aston Martin has shown – and fair play to them – that it is possible to make a big step if you find the right things, so it is doable,” he insisted.

Esteban Ocon (FRA), Alpine F1 Team 
01.04.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Qualifying Day.
-, EMail: © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

“If you think about it, we finished the season in December and when we restarted it was end of February, beginning of March, so that’s about three, four months.

“I don’t know if Aston would have been able to do so in-season, but if you take three or four months it’s not the end of the season.”

Ocon had a tough start to the season when a penalty for lining up incorrectly on the grid in Bahrain led to a string of further penalties, and he eventually retired from the race with 15 laps remaining.

He had a more successful run in Saudi Arabia, and he and new team mate Pierre Gasly both finished in the top ten to score points for the squad.

But he was denied further points in Melbourne when he and Gasly collided during a chaotic restart following a late red flag stoppage in the Australian GP.

Esteban Ocon (FRA) Alpine F1 Team A523 and Pierre Gasly (FRA) Alpine F1 Team A523 at the second restart of the race - Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Alfa Romeo F1 Team C43 and Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB19 avoid an errant tyre.
02.04.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Race Day.
 -, EMail: © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

That’s left the 26-year-old Frenchman looking ahead to the next race on the calendar, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku at the end of April, which will see Alpine bring a load of upgrades for the first time this season.

“I’m at the factory at least one or two days a week,” Ocon said. “I’ve been to the aero department, I’ve seen the future drawings, I’ve seen future concepts of the car, what we are going to bring to the car.

“There are some really interesting ideas,” he declared. “It is interesting and I’m looking forward to seeing them being produced and seeing them on the car.

“It’s a lot of details. It’s never one thing and that’s the difficult thing; a compromise somewhere can lead you to lose a little bit of performance elsewhere.

However he warned that “we can’t make compromises at the moment, because of where we are.”

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Ocon says Alpine surge possible, ‘or no point racing’

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