Esteban Ocon’s seat left broken after going airborne at Hungarian Grand Prix

Thomas Maher
Alpine drivers Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly make contact in the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2023.

Alpine's Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly make contact in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

An unfortunate first corner incident resulted in another double-DNF for Alpine, with Esteban Ocon suffering a vicious hit in the process.

On the run down to Turn 1, Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu had a terrible start from fifth place on the grid, resulting in him falling to near the back of the pack as the field approached the corner.

Misjudging his braking slightly, Zhou tapped the back of AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo who, in turn, clipped the Alpine of Esteban Ocon who was then powerless to stop himself from hitting his teammate Pierre Gasly on the corner entry.

Esteban Ocon suffers hard hit as seat breaks in impact

With the two Alpines having the heaviest impact of the four cars involved, Ocon’s car was pitched up into the air as he collected his teammate, resulting in him slamming hard into the ground and facing the wrong way.

Both cars got moving again, but Gasly limped back to the pits with a punctured right rear, only to find the damage was far too great to continue. A lap later, Ocon was back in the pits as well as he was told to retire the car – both Alpines eliminated from the race for a second consecutive event after their disastrous British Grand Prix.

Ocon’s impact proved to be so great that his racing seat was broken in the landing, resulting in him being taken off to the Hungaroring’s medical centre for precautionary checks before he spoke to the media.

“Yeah, not much to really comment on, unfortunately, we just suffered a strike into Turn 1,” he said, when asked to explain the incident from his viewpoint. recommends

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“It was just a mistake from Zhou in the back and that lead us to a massive hit. I took off by three or four metres on the rear wheels and, when I landed, there was a big hit.

“My seat broke in pieces, in two parts, so that will tell how much the impact was. Unfortunately, both cars were out after that. Those are the consequences from racing in the back – people tend to take more risks.

“We knew it, and we suffered from it today. So we’re going to be racing again next week and that’s the good thing that we can forget this weekend quickly.”

As for whether he’s feeling any pain from the impact, Ocon said it might be a while before he feels any bruises or stiffness.

“So far, I’m still warm so it’s OK,” he said.

“I’m lucky enough to be with a team of very professional people and I should be well taken care of.”

Otmar Szafnauer: These things can happen in the midfield

Team boss Otmar Szafnauer said starting from the midfield, following a tough qualifying as Alpine failed to deliver on the mandatory medium tyres in Q2, resulted in the collision.

“When you start in the midfield like that, you see what can happen,” he said.

“There was nothing we could do. It was Zhou into Ricciardo into Esteban into Pierre… he went bowling.”

Asked about what he knew of the seat breaking in two, Szafnauer said he wasn’t surprised.

“That doesn’t surprise me,” he said.

“They’re lightweight seats made of carbon so, if you come down on them in the right way, they can split. It can happen, it’s not a big thing.”

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