The ‘super encouraging’ aspect at Alpine despite turmoil behind the scenes

Jamie Woodhouse
Alpine's Esteban Ocon in action at the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix. Spielberg, July 2023. Track limits

Alpine's Esteban Ocon in action at the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix. Spielberg, July 2023.

While Alpine are ravaging their senior staff ranks and picking up criticism for how they are going about it, Esteban Ocon highlighted that the team is thriving when it comes to their A523 development plan.

Alpine, like rivals Aston Martin and McLaren, had talked about pushing up the order and joining the fight with the leading teams in F1 2023, but only two have this season delivered on that goal.

Alpine are not one of them, as while their progress has largely stagnated, Aston Martin and more recently McLaren have surged up the order to challenge for that ‘best of the rest’ P2 spot behind Red Bull.

Esteban Ocon labels Alpine development gains “super encouraging”

The behind-the-scenes dramas for Alpine started with now former CEO Laurent Rossi publicly slamming the team, with team principal Otmar Szafnauer and sporting director Alan Permane then axed from their respective positions mid-Belgian GP race weekend. Pat Fry also announced he will leave the chief technical officer post to take on that title at Williams.

There are positives though, Ocon pointing out that Alpine’s A523 challenger, which he drove to P3 in Monaco before Pierre Gasly did the same in the Belgium sprint, is continually improving as Alpine bring the upgrades, a trend following on from last season.

“It’s super encouraging that obviously as soon as we bring an update, we can see the performance boost with the car and it’s been a strength of ours since last year,” he told Channel 4 as Formula 1 now settles into its summer break.

“So I really hope it encourages everyone back at the factory in Viry and Enstone and then we can keep going obviously.

“I’m going to take some time off, still having an eye on the racing situation, because I can’t disconnect, that’s how I am, but yeah, I look forward to be testing the car in different conditions, see where we’re at.”

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Channel 4 pundit and ex-Red Bull driver Mark Webber did try to draw an opinion out of Ocon on Alpine’s senior staff exodus, but he did not bite.

“My job Mark is just to focus on what I have to do behind the wheel,” he responded.

“I just want to be bringing that car as high up as it can go. And that’s what I’m focusing on.”

Alpine sit P6 in the current Constructors’ standings, 46 points behind McLaren a place up the road.

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