Embarrassment for Esteban Ocon after breaking own unwanted record at Austrian Grand Prix

Jamie Woodhouse
Esteban Ocon wearing an Alpine hat. Bahrain. March 2023

Esteban Ocon wearing an Alpine hat.

Esteban Ocon already held the joint-F1 record for most penalties received by a driver in a grand prix, and at the Red Bull Ring he went and beat it.

A key talking point throughout the Austrian Grand Prix was the respecting of track limits, with Race Control watching like a hawk to ensure that drivers were keeping within the boundaries of the Red Bull Ring.

And the track limits drama went on to actually throw the results of the Austrian Grand Prix into doubt for a time after the race following an Aston Martin protest, with the FIA confirming they had “well over 1,200” potential cases to assess.

Esteban Ocon breaks his own F1 joint-record

After their investigations were complete, a total of eight drivers were hit with post-race time penalties for track limits breaches, that in addition to the plethora of penalties that had been handed out already in the race.

And such was the scale of Ocon’s violations that he was actually given four separate penalties, two 10-second penalties and a pair of five-second ones.

That was after he had seen five seconds added to his time in the race as a result of an unsafe release.

And so, with that grand tally of five, Ocon is now the not-so-proud outright owner of the Formula 1 record for most penalties incurred in a Grand Prix.

It was back at the 2023 season-opener in Bahrain that he had equalled the record, his three penalties there matching Pastor Maldonado’s tally from the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Ironically, Ocon had patted himself on the back via team radio immediately after the race ended for not being one of those drivers to get a track limits penalty…oops!

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Esteban Ocon says Austria just “not our day”

The Frenchman would finish the Austrian GP P12, the position which he started in, and felt the race was one where his and Alpine’s luck was out, with first-lap contact with AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda later followed by that unsafe release incident.

Pierre Gasly did ensure a point was scored for Alpine in the Grand Prix, dropping a place to P10 after taking his post-race punishment for track limits, and Ocon is now very much looking ahead to the upcoming British Grand Prix.

“It’s not been an easy race for us today,” Ocon admitted. “Of course, it’s always disappointing to miss out on scoring points.

“We’ll need to sit down and carefully review the race to see where we can improve and ensure we can be more competitive on Sunday next week in Silverstone.

“We had contact with Yuki [Tsunoda] on the first lap and sustained some damage and then we had the penalty for an unsafe release later on, so it was certainly not our day!

“We leave Austria knowing we had a decent Saturday with points in the bag but with more work to do to improve on Sundays. Bring on Silverstone next week.”

Alpine remain P5 in the Constructors’ Championship heading into the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, 18 points ahead of McLaren who delivered a far improved showing courtesy of Lando Norris in Austria, who drove the upgraded MCL60 to a P4 finish.

McLaren will bring a further refined package to their home race, where the MCL60 will run in a special livery, with both Norris and Oscar Piastri set to receive this latest version of the challenger.

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