Ocon managed “critical” engine concerns to avoid double Alpine retirement

2022 Mexican Grand Prix

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Alpine were at risk of both their cars retiring from the Mexican Grand Prix, as Esteban Ocon revealed the extent of his efforts to make sure he reached the chequered flag.

Ocon finished a lap down in eighth place last weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Team mate Fernando Alonso retired eight laps from the finish having fallen to ninth place with a deteriorating power unit problem.

In what he described as a race of “damage limitation”, Ocon had to manage “a lot of cooling issues the whole way, having to lift-and-coast for quite a lot of the race”. Alonso’s unrelated problem only struck later in the race, but Ocon had to spend the whole afternoon managing high temperatures which threatened to end his race early.

“I couldn’t really attack to the maximum. A lot to review for us,” said Ocon. “Hopefully we will come back stronger in the last two.

“The team said it was critical that I had to do a lot of seconds of lift-and-coast, and when you do so, obviously you don’t accelerate. So you lose a lot of lap time, especially on a track like that. We’ve managed, we finished the race, which is the most important. But we’ve lost some important points today as a team.”

By scoring four points, Ocon reduced the amount that McLaren ate into Alpine’s points advantage in the battle for fourth place in the constructors’ championship. The rival teams go into the final two events separated by seven points.

After the race Alonso claimed his Alpine was much more prone to race-ending problems than his team mate’s. Ocon, who has finished all but two races so far this year, pointed out he has also encountered a variety of problems this year.

“I broke the gearbox in Imola, I broke the car in Silverstone, I [retired] in Singapore. I can count them on as well on my side. We’ve both had issues.

“But we are happy with the strategy of the team to push the pace of the car in front of the reliability. That was always the the aim of the team. Today was a was a bit unexpected, so something for us to understand.

“I’ve also changed six engines like him, obviously brought one today. We’re on the same number of engines.”

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2022 Mexican Grand Prix

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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9 comments on “Ocon managed “critical” engine concerns to avoid double Alpine retirement”

  1. He made a valid point about issues that have also struck him.

    1. @jerejj

      Yeah.. but Alonso was running in much higher positions when he retired.. Ocon was generally out of the points and outclassed by his teammate anyways when he had to retire.

      1. If you get warning about impending doom, and start to mitigate, you’ll finish down the field.
        If you stay racing as if nothing is happening, you might DNF from a good position.
        To Ocon, the team can say what they want, but Fernando will hear what he wants.

      2. Many issues happend to Ocon on Saturday, compromising his starting position. Obviously Alonso was running higher when he had his misfortune with Schumacher in Imola, if Ocon had gearbox broken in Q1, on drying track, dropping him almost dead last. Obviously Alonso was running higher in Singapore, if Ocon had asymetrical braking problem in Q1, dropping him almost dead last. Both times ALO had clean qualis, which gave him a good position. Just like Ocon in Austria, while ALO had his misfortune in sprint, dropping him dead last. Obviously Ocon finished ahead there, lol. Was that “outclassing his teammate” only because ALO had to recover from the back, while his teammate was having a clean weekend? You’re tripping man.

        Don’t try to pretend that Ocon issues didn’t matter to him at all, interestingly most of Ocon’s problems happend on track with very limited overtaking opportunities. Imola and Singapore was like 2nd and 3rd lowest overtaking tracks this season (Monaco – 12, Singapore – 16, Imola – 22). Meanwhile ALO got his saturday unluck on tracks with good overtaking opportunities (Spain – 50 overtakes, Austria – 69 overtakes, 4rd best of the year), so obviously he managed to regain his spot. He failed only in Australia, because that track was not-so-good with overtaking opportunities, and he didn’t really translate his quali pace into racepace. And I’m talking only about Saturdays, because it hurt OCO more on that day, while ALO was getting more problems on Sunday. Both days are important however, unlike Friday – when you can get away with mechanical problems.

        Other thing is that apparently Renault engines don’t like hot environment – they had problems in Singapore (both cars), now in Mexico (ALO DNF, OCO compromised), in Bahrain (ALO suspected engine problem, but after discovering it was a sealing problem, engine returned to the pool). They survived France however, so maybe it’s more about extreme weather conditions they’re struggling with cooling.

  2. So, Alonso failed to manage the situation, while his teammate did. Alonso needs to concentrate on his driving rather than running his mouth off about Michael Schumacher and Hamilton.

    1. Alonso’s unrelated problem

      @amam This might explain why Alonso ‘failed to manage the situation’.

    2. Ocon is much better at lubrificating his pu than Alonso which is surprising since we are talking about teflonso…

  3. In Bahrain, Jedda, Imola, Canada, Austria, Monza, Singapore and Mexico he had issues/DNFs whilst ahead.
    Out of 20 races he has had 5 DNFs which were no fault of his own.
    Of the 15 races he has finished, only twice has he ended up behind Ocon – because of reliability (Bahrain/Canada).
    In the other 13 races he was compromised due to penalties from reliability in 3 races (Spain, Australia, Austria).
    In the 10 races Alonso didn’t have an issue, Ocon had one retirement.
    So the 8 races together with no issues Alonso was ahead 7 times.

  4. Renault have failed to produce a reliable engine for 9 seasons in a row now.
    Their lack of communication, ambition and reliability has costs them 3 engine customers and 4 racing drivers.
    The only answer they have is “in the future” it will be better.

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