Esteban Ocon gives blunt assessment of Alpine’s F1 future if Aston Martin surge isn’t possible

Michelle Foster
Esteban Ocon wearing an Alpine hat. Bahrain. March 2023

Esteban Ocon wearing an Alpine hat.

Esteban Ocon believes if Alpine cannot replicate Aston Martin’s rise up the order and get involved in the fight at the front then there is “no point racing”.

Aston Martin have been the surprise team this season, the Silverstone outfit making huge gains with their deficit to Red Bull slashed from two seconds in 2022 to just half a second this year.

It’s showing in their results, Fernando Alonso on a hat-trick of P3s to bring his tally for the season to 45 points, a marked difference on his former Alpine team-mate’s four.

While last season Alpine finished ahead of Aston Martin, P4 to P7, this season their fortunes have swung with Aston Martin hitting their stride and up to P2 in the Constructors’ Championship while Alpine are down in sixth place.

Ocon says his team has to believe they too can pull off an Aston Martin styled resurgence or what’s the point of racing.

“We have to in our mind think it is possible, otherwise there’s no point racing,” Ocon said.

“If you think about it, we finished the season in December and when we restarted it was end of February, beginning of March. So it’s about three, four months.

“I don’t know if Aston would have been able to do so in-season but if you take three or four months, it’s not the end of the season.

“Aston Martin has shown, and fair play to them, that it is possible to make a big step if you find the right things, so it is doable.” recommends`

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Ocon and his new team-mate Pierre Gasly have both scored four points this season, a long way off the 45 that Alonso has bagged.

The Frenchman says the team is working hard to turn the tables.

“It’s a lot of details,” he said of the areas for Alpine to improve their A523. “It’s never one thing and that’s the difficult thing; a compromise somewhere can lead you to lose a little bit of performance elsewhere.

“And we can’t make compromises at the moment because of where we are.”

He added: “I’m at the factory at least one or two days a week.

“I’ve been to the aero department, I’ve seen the future drawings, I’ve seen future concepts of the car, what we are going to bring to the car. And there are some really interesting ideas.

“It is interesting and I’m looking forward to seeing them being produced and seeing them on the car.”

Alpine’s next upgrades said to be worth 0.6s per lap

Alpine will bring a significant upgrade to the next race in Baku with Auto Motor und Sport claiming the team’s development could be worth as much as six-tenths per lap.

And if that comes to pass, team boss Otmar Szafnauer says they could compete against Mercedes at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

“We have put together a great package of updates for the race in Azerbaijan,” he said.

“If our progress is as great as we think, we can compete with Mercedes in Baku, for example.

“We take a lot of updates, but of course, we don’t know what Mercedes and others will do. What I do know: our further development is more intensive than last year, and that should pay off on the track.

“We don’t want our development to stop. Last year we already saw that what works well in our wind tunnel also worked really well on the car. Based on that, it looks good for the rest of the season.”