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Ocon Shanghai will be a bit like going to a new circuit

Ocon Readies for Unfamiliar Shanghai Sprint Challenge

16/04/2024

Esteban Ocon approaches the Chinese Grand Prix, akin to navigating a new circuit after a five-year hiatus.

Esteban Ocon has prepared as best he can for the Chinese Grand Prix, which he did not compete in 2019 as he was no longer a Formula 1 driver at that time.

The Frenchman hopes that Alpine F1 can take advantage of the Sprint format and the lack of familiarity for most teams to achieve a good result, as he notes, the A524 is still far from a top 10 finish.

“The last Grand Prix in Japan was a challenging race for the team. The car seemed more competitive in qualifying, where we again made it to Q2,” Ocon comments.

“However, that was little consolation given how the race unfolded. Ultimately, we didn’t have the pace to compete, and even without the loss of performance, it wouldn’t have radically changed the final result.”

“The developments brought to Suzuka met our expectations, and I know the team is working extremely hard at the factory to extract more from the car in the upcoming events.”

Ocon will benefit from the new floor on his A524, while Pierre Gasly will have to wait until Miami.

For the return to China, the Frenchman estimates that “it will be a bit like going to a new circuit since Formula 1 has not raced in China for five years.”

“Last week, I was at the Enstone simulator working hard to prepare for this weekend with the engineers, especially since there will be a Sprint, and thus less practice time on track.”

“It was nice to get reacquainted with the layout and assess different setup options. Shanghai offers an interesting mix of low, medium, and high-speed turns, as well as a one-kilometer long back straight. Naturally, a compromise between cornering downforce and straight-line drag reduction is necessary.”

“I enjoy driving in Shanghai and have had some great battles there. It will be good to return to China and I look forward to seeing the Chinese fans in the stands again!”

Ocon hopes the Sprint format weekend will create some opportunities for Alpine F1.

“Shanghai marks the start of two consecutive Sprint weekends and the first of the 2024 season. In the past, we’ve seen that these tend to introduce new variables and create opportunities. Recent events have shown that we are more competitive over a single lap in qualifying, so we need to figure out how to capitalize on this with the revised Sprint format.”

“Degradation is traditionally quite high in Shanghai, hence varied strategies and interesting battles at the end of the race. As a team, we need to carefully assess our strategy with the tyres in each session and ensure we put ourselves in the best possible position, both for the Sprint and the Grand Prix.”

Ocon Shanghai will be a bit like going to a new circuit

Ocon: Shanghai will be a bit like going to a new circuit. Ocon: Shanghai will be a bit like going to a new circuit

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