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Formula 1

Ocon’s already convinced by Alpine F1 upgrade Alonso got first

by Edd Straw
3 min read

Esteban Ocon expects to benefit from the “good gain” of the upgrade package Alpine introduced on team-mate Fernando Alonso’s car at Imola when he also runs it in the next Formula 1 event in Miami.

Despite the rain-affected Friday and Alonso’s early exit from the grand prix after Mick Schumacher’s spinning Haas clipped the side of his car meaning Alpine had relatively little chance to gather data on the upgraded car, Ocon believes the team has seen enough to be sure it is working as hoped.

The package comprised a modified floor and a tweaked beam wing. The Race’s technical expert Gary Anderson suggested the changes to the outboard edges of the floor “should help to induce stronger vortices that improve the sealing of the floor’s rear section as it blends into the diffuser area”.

Ocon ran the old-specification Alpine, but his weekend was compromised by a gearbox problem that prevented him from setting a time in Q1, then a five-second penalty for an unsafe release that dropped him from 11th on-the-road to 14th in the final results.

But he is set to run the new floor and beam wing next time out in Miami.

“I look forward to testing these new performance parts that Fernando had on board this weekend,” said Ocon. “I think it seems to be a good gain from what the team is looking at.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Qualifying Day Imola, Italy

“From FP2, we have enough data to look at what it could give us. I think it should be a good gain from what we see.

“Of course, Fernando qualified fifth, that was really good. We struggled a little bit more in the race but I think it’s still possible to put both cars in the top 10 once we both have this performance upgrade.”

Imola was the first race of the season in which Ocon failed to score, having taken a sixth and two seventh places in the first three grands prix.

The Alpine has proved to be a consistent top-10 runner, with six Q3 appearances out of eight. It was at its strongest in Australia, where Alonso had the pace to make the second row only to suffer a hydraulic problem during Q3 caused by an oil leak and crash as a consequence.

Consistency hasn’t always been a strength for the team in recent years, but Ocon believes that the Alpine A522 is capable of being a top 10 runner as standard.

“We’ve been, on my side, three times in the points in the first three races,” said Ocon.

“The car has had a little bit more or a little bit less performance at times, but we were consistent.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Race Day Imola, Italy

“It’s only this race [Imola] that’s a little bit of a standout, but we broke the gearbox in quali.

“It was a missed opportunity for us this weekend.”

Alpine is now sixth in the constructors’ championship with 22 points, three behind Alfa Romeo.

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi has tasked the team with cutting out errors that have led to it not scoring as many points as the car pace has promised.

“We must make sure this does not happen again this year as we have much stronger potential than that,” said Rossi after Imola.

“As a team, there are many areas we must improve, and we must also eradicate errors quickly if we are to achieve our ambitious goals.”

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