Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

Alpine have chance to beat Ferrari and McLaren in Monaco – Ocon

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In the round-up: Esteban Ocon believes Alpine’s strong one-lap pace could help them beat Ferrari and McLaren in this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.

In brief

Ocon expects Monaco to suit Alpine’s strengths

Ocon, who has qualified on the third row of the grid for the last two races, was encouraged by Alpine’s performance around the twisty final sector at Circuit de Catalunya, with an eye on this weekend’s race.

“Until we put the car there and we do the qualifying we’ll not know exactly but I think looking at our performance in qualifying that we are in good shape in qualifying,” he said. “I hope we are going to be able to perform as good.”

Alpine haven’t been as competitive as their rivals in race trim, Ocon admitted, but that may hurt them less in Monaco.

“I think we can give a fight to Ferrari and the other cars around in quali, I’m pretty confident. [It’s] the place where we have to focus in Monaco.

“Of course [in] the race it’s hard to overtake so it’s less of a critical point. I think we are a bit slower than Ferrari, a bit slower than McLaren at the moment on pure pace in the race.”

Reutemann’s condition improving

Multiple Formula 1 race winner Carlos Reutemann, 79, has left intensive care and showing improvement after being hospitalised with internal bleeding due to a haemorrhage in his digestive tract. The 1981 world championship runner-up and winner of 12 grands prix remains in hospital in Rosario, Santa Fe, where he is a senator.

W Series testing starts and season-opener moves

W Series test, Anglesey, 2021
W Series testing began in Wales yesterday
Following the cancellation of its 2020 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic, W Series returned to action yesterday with the first pre-season test for its second championship. Travel restrictions kept South Africa’s Tasmin Pepper from being able to participate, but the remainder of the confirmed driver roster were present, plus a trio of newcomers: Abbi Pulling, Gosia Rdest and Caitlin Wood.

The venue for its season-opening race has changed in line with the revisions to the 2021 F1 calendar which were announced last week. The 2021 W Series will begin at the Red Bull Ring next month, instead of Paul Ricard, supporting F1’s Styrian Grand Prix. Round two will take place at the same venue, and it will accompany six further grands prix.

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Comment of the day

Codemasters’ latest addition to F1 2021 is a peculiar one, writes Ben:

A fun touch which I’m sure people will enjoy, but I like a certain degree of realism to my gaming experience and dropping Senna on to the present day grid just feels weird to me. Granted, my imagination is already stretched by including myself on the grid… but that’s as far as I go!

I’d prefer to see this sort of thing on a ‘Classic Mode’ or ‘Legends Mode’ or ‘Champions Mode’, where you could have a number of classic drivers and classic cars and potentially classic tracks and jumble it all up and have some fun races and scenarios. Ideally, I’d love to have classic scenario’s available on each game, for example, the ability to change history and play as Hill trying to get past Schumacher to win the title in 1994, or as Senna defending from Mansell in Monaco in 1992… obviously that’s a lot more image rendering and coding to get done, but would be a fun touch.
Ben Needham (@Ben-n)

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On this day in F1

  • Born today in 1967: Heinz-Harald Frentzen – Team mate to Michael Schumacher and Karl Wendlinger in Mercedes’ sports car team, won three F1 races with Williams and Jordan and was 1997 championship runner-up to team mate Jacques Villeneuve

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  • 25 comments on “Alpine have chance to beat Ferrari and McLaren in Monaco – Ocon”

    1. That Richard Williams tweet is spot on. Clearly those graphic designers should have spent that time working on the cars’ aerodynamics! Or maybe they could contribute to power unit performance, or team strategy. So much wasted brainpower!

      1. Everyone knows that graphic designers are really just suspension and data engineers in disguise…

        1. Well whoever decided to slap a green smoking logo on the side of the Ferrari certainly wasn’t a graphic designer! Not a good one anyway….

      2. RP (@slotopen)
        18th May 2021, 3:28

        I’d think Richard Williams was full of it, except for the two recent examples, Mercedes and Ferrari.

        Hopefully McLaren will prove him wrong.

      3. ColdFly (@)
        18th May 2021, 3:55

        They have heated discussions though with the thermo experts.

        PS I never know if the golden or the silvery part of a heat blanket goes on the inside.

        1. Flat six 3.6
          18th May 2021, 5:13

          As a graphic designer myself I reckon I could get on the tools and shave a tenth off the lap time.

      4. Absolutely, we have been robbed of a 3-way fight for the world championship because Mclaren prioritized a special livery over competing at the front of the field

      5. @keithedin not to mention that in the case of McLaren, I suspect this has been directed and orchestrated by Brown, who doesn’t need to concern himself with the day-to-day because that’s Seidl’s job.

        Maybe McLaren are better positioned to do this because there is that separation between the CEO and the Team Principal? Please correct me if I’m wrong, but as I understand it both Ferrari and Mercedes don’t have this structure—so Wolff and Binotto would’ve more likely had their focus disturbed throughout the weekend.

        Whereas we “know” that in the case of McLaren, Brown will be doing all the camera stuff which he seems to love, leaving Seidl to get on with the racing.

        This is not a criticism; just an observation.

        1. @justrhysism Yeah that’s also a good point. The organisational structure at McLaren and division of labour at the top level ensures that anything like sponsorship or liveries is even further removed from any performance related activities. That makes his tweet even more nonsensical.

      6. someone or something
        18th May 2021, 10:13

        Oh, that reminds me of that one time a few years ago, when Ferrari said they had made some gains with their engine, and some commenters scolded them for wasting resources on an area they were already good in, instead of improving their deficient aero (or was it the other way around? Doesn’t matter, it works both ways).
        It’s one of those times when a short, casual remark exhibits so many logical fallacies that you can’t possibly give it a proper reply that doesn’t look grotesquely disproportionate.

      7. @keithedin It’s been a few years, but I remember Richard Williams as being a serial complainer – that tweet is par for the course for him!

      8. +1 He needs to calm down.

    2. Wescott was saying in January that the GP would go ahead in March so I’m not sure why he’s being asked, listened to or reported on at this point.

    3. F1 game with the ‘historic moment playback’ sounds like fun!

      1. Grand Prix Legends is that very game – it’s not very current but neither am I when it comes to gaming!

    4. It’s a waste of time and energy that should be entirely devoted to performance in the here and now.

      Comments like this annoy me for one simple reason…no one involved in adding performance to the MCL35M will have had any say in this one off livery. It’s not like James Key or Andrea Stella have been getting their crayons out over the last few weeks is it.

      The people who would have been involved in making this happen would have been Zak Brown, the marketing team and their various partners. The teams repaint their cars between races anyway, so there is no harm in mixing a few new shades of paint and making a few new stickers. The positive press the team has gotten out of this far outweighs any other considerations in my book.

      1. It’s just typical F1 behavior isn’t it? If there is any change, people love to whinge for the sake of whinging.

        1. I expected Mr. Williams next sentence to be ” And get off my lawn! “

      2. It’s like an unpopular opinion to me.

    5. I couldn’t disagree more with Richard Williams’ tweet.

      Bringing back scenario modes is something I wouldn’t mind.

      Rosenqvist’s car livery looks like a tiger, but I like it nevertheless.

      Too premature for being confident about Australian GP as the mandatory quarantine for arrivals might still be in place come November.

    6. While I disagree in part with Williams’ tweet, it does touch on a theme I do agree with, which is that the constant glorification of the past comes at the expense of the present.

      We seem to be consumed by nostalgia and a sense that what came in the past is always better than what we have now, or what we could have in the future. That no current driver could ever be held up alongside Senna, Lauda, Jim Clarke, and so on. That no race could ever be as exciting, no title fight as thrilling, no rivalry more intense, that those of yesteryear.

      I saw recently a tweet from someone with an overhead shot of the McLaren MP4/4 compared with the same shot of the current (and clearly much larger) Mercedes, with a tagline along the lines of “everything wrong with F1 summed up in two images”, followed by dozens of comments full of nodding agreement. And yet, the substance of the tweet was nonsense. The MP4/4 was an utterly dominant car which won near enough every race it finished, and saw McLaren finish the year with three times the points of its nearest competitor. A dominance far beyond anything we’ve seen recently from Mercedes. If such a season played out in modern times, we would all bemoan how boring, how predictable, how utterly lacking in competition the sport had become. The 1988 season was saved only by virtue of the rivalry between the two Mclaren drivers – something Mercedes are clearly reluctant to emulate, and something completely separate to the design of the cars.

      We are ruled by an overwhelming nostalgia for a past which never existed. Where the drivers were all hairy-chested heroes driving terrifying death machines close to and beyond the limits, in death-defying clashes where these godlike men showed their true grit and steel. And it’s absolute and utter nonsense. Racing, at least in F1, has pretty much always been predictable. The fastest car, and the fastest team, wins the championship. Wins the races. Tyres have always needed looking after, brakes and engines always overheated, and drivers always had bad days where they underperformed. It’s a truism of F1 racing, and racing as a whole, because this type of competition means the systematic elimination of unknown variables, to ensure that performance is maximised; thus the team with the greatest potential performance will, with all other things being equal, always win. Dominance is the norm.

      So to an extent, the obsession with the paint schemes of cars from history doesn’t really interest me. Especially since almost every one of them is tied up in the brand identity of a faceless megacorporation. By all means celebrate and recognise the achievments of the team throughout its history, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that F1 is still as good as it has ever been. The racing is close; extremely close by historic standards, and we’re currently bearing witness to the ongoing creation of one of the sports greatest legends – that of Lewis Hamilton. For in the future he’ll be deified alongside Schumacher and Senna, and all the rest, who drew criticism during their careers but ultimately ascended to the pantheon of the Greats.

      I say let’s live in the now, not in the past. Let’s celebrate what F1 currently has rather than looking jealously backwards at our imagined memories of glories long past. Because the dull races of today will fade as did the dull races of the 80s and 90s.

      1. Celebrating the past doesn’t hurt the present, it merely acknowledges that a section of the fan base has fond memories of times gone by. Where celebration turns into glorification, it’s fair enough to be critical of those sentiments and to keep in mind that most people will to some degree get stuck in the era in which they first encountered the sport, similar to how you can find people of all ages to agree that ‘everything was better when I was growing up’.

        But looking back is also a sign that fans are missing something in current F1. Mercedes’ ongoing run at the front has been going on uninterrupted since 2014 – an unprecedented length. There hasn’t been a down to the wire championship fight between different teams since 2012, almost a decade ago. And as much one has to acknowledge that there were plenty of boring races in the past, there’s still something that rubs a lot of people the wrong way about V6 turbo engines, drivers cutting legendary corners like Raidillon, and the lack of surprise results due to near perfect reliability and DRS making out of position driving all but impossible, to name just a few examples.

    7. I agree in many ways @mazdachris except there are some areas where the health and safety brigade have toned down the excitement. Although the safety of the drivers is much much better now, and who could argue against that, many of the tracks have been compromised by knee jerk reactions in the past. The final chicane in Spain is a decent example when this week the cars are racing around between tight concrete walls at speed. Also the over zealous use of safety car starts (slightly off formula but FE is heavily over cautious) dulls some of the excitement. I could mention that the pure racing without DRS in former years had more excitement and intensity…but I won’t..

      Finally, the obtrusive advertising on this site is close to unbearable!!

      1. As far as I know (correct me if I’m wrong) the chicane in the last sector of Catalunya was designed to help overtaking, not improve safety.

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