David Croft has revealed he was told by one of the F1 drivers they suspect their team might be slow in 2024…
Appearing on the main stage at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham, Sky F1 commentator David Croft engaged the crowd for a season review of 2023 and a general chat about the current state of play in F1.
Casting his eye over how he reckons 2024 will go, he spoke of his hopes that Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton will be able to bring the fight to Max Verstappen and Red Bull, and also let slip he’d heard from one driver that he has concerns over his team’s pace.
David Croft: I don’t know yet who’s in good shape
Summing up how he’s feeling heading into the 2024 F1 season, Croft detailed his thoughts on where he reckons some of the teams might end up.
“So my real hope for this year is that we actually get a Mercedes car that is a bit more on par with the Red Bull,” he told a cheering crowd at ASI24.
“I don’t know how it’s all going behind the scenes, you know, a wheel has not even turned yet at this point.
“[But] Esteban Ocon said he believes the Alpine is a little bit slow, he told me that before Christmas, but I don’t know who’s in really good shape.”
Explaining who he thinks will be strong, Croft said he has no reason to doubt Red Bull at this point.
“I do think going into this year, Red Bull is obviously going to be in decent shape because they’ve just finessed what was superb last year,” he said.
“But then you’ve got Ferrari who says their car is going to be 95 percent different to last year. So heaven only knows what we’re going get from Ferrari on that one.
“You’ve got Aston Martin who needs to put right what went wrong in the middle part of last year and get back to where they were at the start.
“Then you’ve got McLaren. McLaren are fantastic – their revival last year was like Lazarus.
“They were at the bottom of the Championship after three races and, by the end of it, Lando and Oscar were the closest things to Max – which was mega.”
Esteban Ocon: Alpine aiming for McLaren-like jump
Having slipped down to sixth in the 2023 Constructors’ Championship, the French driver said he’s hopeful of the Enstone-based squad finding more performance in 2024.
“We need to work on the performance of the car, some teams have done a better job than us in progressing and getting stronger updates into the cars,” Ocon told RacingNews365.
“That’s what we need to try and change. Obviously, we’re already working on the 2024 car in the simulator. We took it earlier in the year, which should help for our 2024 campaign.”
Watching on as Aston Martin and McLaren took huge leaps in performance at different points of the 2023 season, Ocon said he’s hopeful Alpine can make that step soon.
“I don’t know if it’s realistic, I don’t care to be honest,” the 27-year-old said.
“That’s what we have to look at. That’s where we have to aim. We want to close the gap, we want to get more competitive.
“We’re not going into the new year thinking otherwise. Because otherwise, we would never be winners.”