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Ocon's Frustration at Suzuka Team Struggle

Ocon’s Frustration at Suzuka: Team Struggle

07/04/2024

After a challenging Suzuka race, Esteban Ocon voices concerns over Alpine F1’s performance and internal team dynamics.

Esteban Ocon did not hide his frustration at the end of the Suzuka race. The Alpine F1 driver tangled with teammate Pierre Gasly, but it was primarily the lack of performance from the A524, despite developments, that stood out in this race. And the damage did not play a significant role in explaining the difficulties.

“We didn’t lose a lot of performance on both cars, so it doesn’t change the overall picture of the race, which is that we tried some more aggressive things with the strategy, we managed to be in the pack, but we weren’t fast enough to keep them behind,” Ocon told Canal+.

“It was a good test to see where we were on this track, which is really tough on the cars. We made a leap forward in qualifying, but we’re not where we’d like to be in the race, so we need to work.”

His engineer asked him to attack during the race, while the team was figuring out the strategy and struggled to make decisions. The Frenchman expressed frustration over the radio but believes that should not overshadow the main issue.

“Of course, I always try to do my best, manage the tires at the right time to have some grip at the end. But we had a lot of degradation. I ran a race I know how to do at Suzuka, I’ve finished in the top 5 before, and today that’s not enough, we need performance,” Ocon continued, addressing Alpine’s concerns.

“We’ve been worried since the start of the year. We need to look at the progress we can make. We made progress in quali this weekend, on a lot of things in Melbourne. But in the race, we took a step back today, and whether we’re worried or not doesn’t change anything, we must continue to work and give our all for the next race.”

“We shouldn’t be this far behind.”

Pierre Gasly regretted moving back towards his teammate at the second start but had no choice. He estimates the damage to be less than a second per lap, which is very worrying since he was losing more than a second and a half to Logan Sargeant for much of the race.

“For the first start, I made a very good one and gained three places. After the red flag, I had a very good start again, managed to overtake Esteban and found myself next to Yuki who turned left, I got sandwiched and there was contact that tore off the left side of my floor,” Gasly recounted.

“It’s a racing incident but it cost more than 30 points of downforce, we estimate it to be eight tenths or a second per lap. From that moment, it was game over and it’s a shame because we couldn’t see the car’s performance, even though it was going to be difficult for us but there were things to aim for.”

He lamented the lack of performance: “I tried to fight, but it was very complicated. It’s been a long time since I had such a difficult race in terms of car behavior, but we tried in case something happened at the end, but we were too far behind.”

“But we have to see the positive, there were developments this weekend, there are things that are moving in the right direction, but we need more improvements on the car. We don’t have the performance necessary to fight at the front, the team is capable but we need to work hard because we shouldn’t be this far behind.”

Ocon's Frustration at Suzuka Team Struggle

Ocon’s Frustration at Suzuka: Team Struggle. Ocon’s Frustration at Suzuka: Team Struggle

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