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Ocon Commends Alpine F1's Quick Development

Ocon Commends Alpine F1’s Quick Development

18/04/2024

At the Chinese Grand Prix, Esteban Ocon highlights Alpine F1’s rapid progress with a new floor, showcasing his team’s effort to advance their car ahead of schedule.

Esteban Ocon is hopeful for progress for Alpine F1 this weekend at the Chinese Grand Prix, as his A524 will feature a new floor. This development, which was initially scheduled for Miami, is ahead of schedule on one of the cars, and the French driver commends Enstone for the rapid production of this upgraded part.

“First of all, the team has done a great job in bringing, you know, some improvements earlier than expected on my car, which is a remarkable effort from the team. It’s a remarkable effort from the team,” notes Ocon.

Ocon Commends Alpine F1's Quick Development

“So, it’s good that we can test this early and see what it brings to the car. Obviously, we’re not expecting massive changes in performance. But we can still be pleasantly surprised and we’ll see where it takes us on the track later in the weekend.”

The Frenchman continues to make it to Q2, but admits the races are challenging: “I think it depends on the venue. In Australia, we wanted to fight for points. We were battling with Haas. Things were looking good until a tear-off got into the brake duct.”

“Obviously, yes, we qualified in Q2 twice, in Australia and Suzuka. But, you know, in Suzuka, we also had damage at the start, which didn’t help matters, but we struggled more in Suzuka.”

“So, I think we’ve made a step forward in qualifying recently, but we still need to work on race pace and see if we can keep up with the other cars, which is the main thing.”

Crucial FP1 but other chances to progress

Ocon notes that performing well in FP1 is crucial to setting up the car, but an error during this session won’t be eliminatory, since Parc Fermé is suspended between the Sprint and qualifying.

“It’s not really different from any other Sprint weekend. It’s just that we haven’t come here for a long time. So FP1 is crucial before getting to Sprint qualifying, and there’s a good chance that things will go well.”

“You know, fortunately, if things go wrong during the first step of the weekend, you can always change the settings, which is new. So, yes, there’s probably a bit more experimental stuff you can try for this first step of the weekend, but otherwise, indeed, it’s not a huge difference.”

A ‘not ideal’ weekend for Gasly

Ocon Commends Alpine F1's Quick Development

Pierre Gasly is frustrated not to have these developments but praises his team’s work: “The team has done a great job in bringing one of the packages we were supposed to have in Miami, to try it out in China. This evolution goes to Esteban, because it makes things easier for the team and I will have to wait until Miami, which is not ideal.”

“But seeing the positive, it should be a good step forward and it should bring us closer to the points, which is the goal. From my side, we expect a more challenging weekend, but this format can bring opportunities that we will try to seize.”

Gasly will continue to work on understanding the developments brought to Japan, and he is pleased to be able to benefit from a Sprint weekend, which he hopes will bring opportunities: “I’m very satisfied because we have no chance of fighting for points in a traditional weekend.”

“On one hand, with the developments (from Suzuka, ed.) we might want an extra session to understand them, but it’s pretty straightforward, it just saves weight, which provides a time gain and more downforce. We are confident that it will deliver what we expect, and it’s good that the team responds and comes up with a new development. We will closely watch what it brings.”

Ocon Commends Alpine F1's Quick Development

Ocon Commends Alpine F1’s Quick Development. Ocon Commends Alpine F1’s Quick Development

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