Double pit lane start for Ocon

Esteban Ocon will start from the pit lane in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and F1 Sprint

Esteban Ocon will start from the pit lane in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and F1 Sprint

Esteban Ocon will start today’s F1 Sprint and tomorrow’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix from the pit lane after he suffered an exhaust leak in the Sprint Shootout.

The Frenchman had qualified 13th for this afternoon’s Sprint despite the issue experienced in the truncated session.

Alpine has had to remove his car from parc ferme conditions to remedy it, mandating a pit lane start.

However, that also means Ocon will also have to start from the lane in Sunday’s grand prix, for which he’d qualified 12th.

This weekend has seen a new format introduced for Sprint events.

Where previously the outcome of the F1 Sprint would determine the grid for Sunday’s race, the two are no longer competitively connected.

Instead, a separate qualifying session, dubbed the Sprint Shootout, was introduced.

Held early on a Saturday, that sets the starting order for the F1 Sprint, with the qualifying session on Friday determining the grid for Sunday’s race.

The theory is that by disconnecting the grand prix from the Sprint, drivers can take more risks and improve the spectacle.

It also introduces another competitive session to the weekend with the Sprint Shootout taking the place of what was otherwise a stagnant hour of Free Practice 2 running.

However, what hasn’t changed are the rules relating to when cars enter parc ferme.

That happens as they leave the garage during Qualifying on Friday.

Removing a car from parc ferme conditions, therefore, not only has an impact on the F1 Sprint but the race itself.

As a result, Ocon will start both from the Baku pit lane.

The 17-lap F1 Sprint is set to begin at 17:30 local time today (23:30 AEST), with Sunday’s race to commence at 15:00 (21:00 AEST).

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