Grim Alpine admission made after poor start to F1 2024 season

Oliver Harden
Alpine drivers Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly.

Alpine started the season lapping at the back of the field in Bahrain.

Alpine driver Esteban Ocon has admitted the team “pretty much optimised” their car at the F1 2024 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix – despite being at the back of the grid.

Having telegraphed to Sky F1 commentator David Croft that the team were braced for a difficult start to the season, Alpine produced a limp performance in Bahrain where Ocon and team-mate Pierre Gasly were the slowest cars in qualifying.

Alpine maximised Bahrain result, admits Esteban Ocon

Alpine’s fortunes did not improve on race day in Sakhir as Ocon and Gasly finished 17th and 18th respectively – ahead only of Valtteri Bottas, who suffered a 52-second pit stop, and Logan Sargeant, who was delayed by a steering wheel malfunction on his Williams.

Despite the team’s poor display, Ocon has claimed Alpine actually maximised what the A524 had to offer in Bahrain.

And he is hopeful of an improved performance at this weekend’s Saudi Arabian GP, where the team have been historically strong, with Ocon starting sixth in Jeddah last year after coming close to the podium in 2021. recommends

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He told media in Jeddah: “I think, in Bahrain, we pretty much optimised what we had.

“Here, we need to see exactly where that is. The car was better here last year than in Bahrain, it will have more performance.

“I think I qualified sixth here last year. Of course, I’m not going to say I’m probably going to qualify sixth this year, but we hope we’re going to be a little bit closer to the pack than we were in Bahrain and we hope that we are going to be able to extract a little bit more.

“That’s the goal. Are we going to do it? We don’t know, but that’s the aim.”

Asked if the fewer acceleration zones in Jeddah will hide Alpine’s weaknesses on traction, Ocon said: “Could be. It’s a good point. We’ll see what it brings us.

“But it’s a track I really enjoy. I was on pole in 2021 at some point [during the qualifying session], which was nice.

“I’ve almost been on the podium, I’ve always finished in the points – I look forward to driving on this track and have some fun.

“I think that’s what we are here for and looking forward to see what we can do.

Alpine – who under their previous Renault guise won two successive World Championships with Fernando Alonso as recently as 2005/06 – announced a technical restructure on Monday following the resignations of technical director Matt Harman and aero head Dirk de Beer.

The technical director role will be split in three going forward with Joe Burnell announced as the team’s new Technical Director (Engineering), David Wheater as Technical Director (Aerodynamics) and Ciaron Pilbeam as Technical Director (Performance).

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