Alpine explains how one penalty became three for Ocon
By Mat Coch
Monday 6th March, 2023 - 11:52pm
Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer has explained how Esteban Ocon’s Bahrain Grand Prix unravelled when one penalty became three.
The Frenchman was one of three retirements in the race, his demise coming only after he felt the wrath of officials on three separate – but related – occasions.
The first of those was for a starting infringement, the second for that penalty being incorrectly served.
He was then caught speeding in the pit lane to complete the trio which served to ruin his race.
“The grid penalty was I think out of position at the start of the race,” Szafnauer told media, including Speedcafe.com.
“Then I think we were a half second off, or less than a half second off, before we started working on the car.”
Ocon picked up a five-second penalty for his grid transgression to be served at his first stop on Lap 12.
However, while the team waited before starting work on the car, they proved 0.4s too eager.
“That was just a timing issue,” Szafnauer explained.
“We have a system that counts down and into the mechanics’ ears to tell them when they can start.
“That was offset by four-tenths of a second.
“Then it kind of just spiralled out of control.”
On Lap 15, Ocon was back in the Alpine box, this time with a 10-second penalty.
Prior to his first stop, he’d been running 10th, one spot back from where he’d qualified, but fell to 19th after his second visit to the lane.
His third stop came on Lap 32, at which he took another five-second penalty after he released the pit limiter half a metre earlier upon exit last time.
“All operational errors. We shouldn’t make them, not at this level,” Szafnauer conceded.
“We’ll have an introspective view on them and not make them again.”
While Ocon qualified ninth and failed to finish, team-mate Pierre Gasly started last and raced his way into the points.
His cause was aided by the misfortunes of Ocon, Oscar Piastri (electrical), and Charles Leclerc (engine).
After the opening round of the season, Alpine sits sixth with two points to its name.
Join the discussion below in the Speedcafe.com comments section
Please note: Speedcafe.com reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]