Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Ocon wants “maximum possible” change to car after slump

2021 F1 season

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Esteban Ocon is eager for Alpine to make changes to his car – potentially including a chassis replacement – in response to his recent slump in results.

Having regularly reached Q3 in the opening races, Ocon dropped out in Q1 at both rounds in Austria. Meanwhile team mate Fernando Alonso was on course for his fourth consecutive appearance in Q3 last weekend until he was blocked on his final run in Q2.

Ocon said after Saturday’s qualifying session there was little indication why he was more than half a second slower than Alonso over the shortest lap time on the calendar.

“The balance felt actually fine,” he said. “Once I finished a lap, I felt like it was a good lap on that second of Q1 and I was pretty pleased with how it went. Maybe half a tenth I could have gained, but that’s all about it, to be fair.

“So that’s where it starts to be difficult when you don’t spot exactly what the issue is and then the lap time deficit is so big on such a small track. So we need to keep digging in and keep staying together to go through this period as quickly as possible.”

His race lasted two corners before a collision left his car terminally damaged. Ocon said his team will use the two-week gap to the next race at Silverstone to make swap parts on his car to eliminate any potential problems.

“We’ll start as fresh as we can be, because obviously the deficit and the performance that we had was not good enough this weekend and last weekend,” he said.

A complete change of chassis has not been ruled out, said Ocon. “The maximum possible would be very welcome,” he said.

“I will have a chat with the team and see what’s possible to do. But the more things we can change, the better it would be. Then it’s one doubt less.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Ocon wants “maximum possible” change to car after slump”

  1. I think the area he should look at is positioned between the steering wheel and the back of the seat.

    1. @IVAYLO Too early for this type of conclusion.

      1. Why too early?
        How long is this kid already in F1. And he still never has been impressive. The kid is far overrated and there is a reason Mercedes let him go (they get also all the data to compare).

        Saying he wants to change as much possible, but doesn’t have any clue what was wrong or what is needed to change, says enough.

        He is lucky Alonso only got into form with the car after Ocon signed a new two year deal.

        1. He lost like 4 tenths on Alonso in the two first corners of the Red Bull Ring. That’s not normal after having such a great start to the season.

          1. @paeschli – you can easily lose even more if you miss the apex, which is more due to driver error than the car. Especially in this case, when Ocon says he was happy with his Alpine.

  2. Just as long as it isn’t because team is setting up and develop car only from Alonso’s feedback and ignoring his. But I bet some are thinking it is the case.

    1. Was waiting for someone to bring this up.
      In this case it wouldn’t make sense at all because:
      – This car is an evolution of last years car which was Ocons
      – The car has been developed with Ocons (and Ricciardos) racedata from last year so its basically Ocons car.
      – Development focus is on next years car. The new parts/updates are only small updates that shouldnt have a big impact on the cars performance aka Alonsos influence is little.
      – It happened after he signed the contract, could be mentally.

      1. I agree and hope Ocon gets his mojo back ASAP.

      2. I do not believe these focus shift claims. The year is 2021 we live in. There is now time to score and keep investors happy. Letting go the current year would be ridiculous. Teams just use this as an excuse. They are working as much as possible in parallel for current and next year.

  3. I just believe Alonso got his touch back and is comfortable with the car, and him gaining positions at the start is only doing him favor. Alo would be much better than Seb in AMR.

    1. I think there’s more than that, ocon was generally good when alonso struggled, if it was just alonso is now comfortable, then ocon should also be in the points.

      1. Could be mentally. Him signing the contract made him relax too much and at the same time Alonso finding his speed put unexpected pressure on his shoulders again.
        Honestly cant blame the car seeing how the focus is on next years car and this years car is basically an evolution of last years aka its Ocons car.

    2. That would explain Alonso moving up the order, but not Ocon moving back relative to the other teams.

  4. But it’s just not easy with Fernando. It never is.

  5. I’m sure Sky had his Q1 lap on the skypad and showed that he was missing apex’s all over the place and was 2 tenths down to alonso by turn 3, so I’m not sure how he thinks he had a good lap

    1. I’ve actually looked more into this and the difference to Alonso almost entirely is down to top speed on the straight, particularly in 7th/8th gear where Alonso is over 10kph faster. Apparently this is down to the Alpine’s cooling being compromised by Ocon’s height, so it either reduces the engine power or they have to account for this and provide extra cooling which affects aero/drag. This is also more apparent in hotter conditions like the ones the last few races.

  6. What a deal for Alpin until 2024. Best deal ever

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