Ocon: Alpine ‘can’t be satisfied’ with F1 season start
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 29th March, 2023 - 2:58pm
Esteban Ocon believes Alpine cannot be satisfied with its start to the 2023 Formula 1 season despite sitting fifth in the constructors’ championship.
Ocon endured a dismal Bahrain Grand Prix where a mistake on the grid compounded into three separate but related penalties to ruin his race.
Things were better in Saudi Arabia with both he and team-mate Pierre Gasly in the points.
It leaves the squad with a return of eight points from the opening two rounds, double its nearest rival but less than a third of what fourth-placed Ferrari has.
By contrast, 2022 midfield rival Aston Martin holds down second place in the standings with 38 points.
“We can’t be satisfied with where we are at the moment,” Ocon asserted.
“There are a couple of teams that have improved massively over the others, so it shows that it is possible.
“We need to keep fighting. We need to keep digging, to keep thinking.”
Alpine left Bahrain with something of a question mark over its place in the pecking order after an unusual weekend.
Ocon struck trouble in the race and Gasly started from the rear of the grid before charging through to ninth.
Saudi Arabia offered a better indication as to where Alpine lies versus its rivals.
Results there suggested the Enstone-based operation holds the mantle of ‘next best’ behind the leading four teams.
However, it is not clear of the ‘midfield’, with Alfa Romeo Sauber, Haas, Williams, and even McLaren all showing pace suggesting they’ll contend for points.
With the leading four teams clear of the pack, it leaves precious few opportunities for those behind.
It’s crucial then that Alpine irons outs any early season wrinkles in its performances, and understands the A523 to capitalise on any missteps.
Saudi Arabia was a tricky weekend for the engineering team as its drivers seemed to offer contradictory feedback.
That was despite, according to Ocon, the cars being very similar in qualifying and race trim.
“The driving style is not very far apart, to be honest,” the Frenchman explained.
“The cars, they have more or less converged together.
“We were quite different before and in qualifying and the race they were very, very close.
“So it’s something for us to analyse, definitely to understand.
“It’s still early days, learning about the car and that’s what we are doing.”
Round 3 of the 2023 F1 season gets underway in Melbourne this weekend with the Australian Grand Prix.
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]