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Ocon Targets Suzuka Boost with Alpine Upgrades

Ocon Targets Suzuka Boost with Alpine Upgrades

03/04/2024

Esteban Ocon revisits Suzuka, aiming for advancements and progress with Alpine’s A524, reflecting on past achievements.

Esteban’s fourth place was Alpine F1 team’s best result during the 2022 season, and he hasn’t missed scoring points at Suzuka since his first season in 2016.

Is this a positive sign for the 2024 season while the A524 is still far from the top 10? The Frenchman remains cautious.

“The emotions were mixed coming back from the last race in Australia. On one hand, there were promising signs, with the car performing better throughout the weekend and getting closer to the teams ahead of us. On the other, it felt like a missed opportunity because we could have been in the points if not for the extra pit stop to remove the tear-off stuck in the rear brake duct.”

“Motorsport is like this, and we probably wouldn’t have finished the race if we hadn’t stopped. I know the teams in Enstone and Viry are working extremely hard to add performance to the car, and we’ll be trying out some small improvements this week at Suzuka.”

“Every year in Japan, I have a huge smile on my face,” continues Ocon.

“The fans here are so enthusiastic and passionate about Formula 1. They always come to support us, rain or shine, which is often the case at Suzuka with its variable weather conditions! Many show creativity with their hats and outfits, and they even give us personalized gifts, which is incredible. This support doesn’t go unnoticed, and we appreciate the spectators making this event so special for one of the best races on the F1 calendar. I’m looking forward to seeing all the fans at the track and hope we can put on a great show this weekend.”

The Japanese GP is especially a remarkable circuit…

“Suzuka is often described as one of the drivers’ and fans’ favorite meetings, and I can assure you that’s absolutely true. In my opinion, it’s the best circuit on the calendar, and it’s a place I love coming back to drive each year. There’s so much to love about the track, especially in the first sector, incredibly smooth and fast while leaving no moment to catch your breath. The corners come at you fast, and missing one apex can compromise the entire lap. The level of precision and commitment, especially in qualifying, makes it even more rewarding. It’s an old-school track that doesn’t forgive the slightest mistake, and it’s loaded with history. All this, along with the crowd, makes it stand out in the F1 calendar.”

Alpine F1: Upgrades and Hopes in Japan

Bruno Famin, the team’s director, remains cautious after the improved performance shown in Melbourne and seeks further improvement at Suzuka.

“In Australia, we were able to fight closer to the points than in previous races. However, this was probably due to the circumstances and the specific characteristics of the track rather than an improvement in performance,” admits the Frenchman.

“And we are still far from our goals. We are determined to correct the situation, both in our factories and on the track, in order to improve our processes and our car. We must fight tooth and nail to advance our performance in all areas.”

Good news for the French team, progress is being made on the race car for this Japanese GP.

“We are eager to race on the fast Suzuka circuit. In line with our development plan for 2024, we are on schedule to introduce the first updates to the A524. Although they are not major, it is important for us to add these elements as soon as possible to assess their potential and continuously improve our understanding of our package. These updates mainly concern a new front wing and a first step in weight reduction.”

Ocon Targets Suzuka Boost with Alpine Upgrades. Ocon Targets Suzuka Boost with Alpine Upgrades

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