‘We had to pit or we were going to catch fire’ – Ocon

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In the round-up: Esteban Ocon explained the serious overheating problem which forced him out of the British Grand Prix early in the race.

In brief

Ocon avoided car fire by retiring from British GP

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon potentially spared his team a large damage bill by retiring in the pits on lap 10 of the British Grand Prix.

“It was a frustrating race. We had a hydraulic leak, so we had to box the car otherwise we are going to catch fire,” he said. “Had a decent start, but that was it from there. Unfortunately.”

Ocon added there “is always some positives” to take away from a weekend like that. “There’s always things that we can carry forward. Hopefully we come back stronger in the next two before the break, and there is some some great stuff coming on the car so big hopes for us.”

Formula E reveals full rookie practice line-up

An additional practice session will take place at this weekend’s Rome E-Prix for ‘rookie’ drivers, functioning in much the same way that Formula E’s annual rookie test does.

The full line-up was unveiled on Monday, and includes several high-profile racing figures. Two-times World Touring Car Cup title winner Yann Ehrlacher will drive for DS Penske, former Formula 1 driver Daniil Kvyat will take part for NIO 333, reigning DTM champion Sheldon van der Linde is in action for Jaguar, Nissan have called up their simulator driver Luca Ghiotto and Yifei Ye will be driving for Porsche. He normally races one of their Hypercars in the World Endurance Championship.

F1 Academy driver gets 0.3s penalty

The F1 Academy action at Monza last weekend was full of collisions and penalties, and none stranger than the 0.3 seconds that was added to Amna Al Qubaisi’s race time following the finish of race three.

It cost her third place to Nerea Marti, but Al Qubaisi had actually taken third from Marti during the race via an off-track moment, and a subsequent Safety Car period that ran all the way to the chequered flag denied Al Qubaisi the chance to give back the place.

A five-second penalty would be the most commonly seen penalty for such a pass, but that would have dropped Al Qubaisi to ninth given the closeness of the pack behind the Safety Car. The stewards therefore deemed an unprecedented 0.3s penalty to be the most appropriate way to return Marti to the podium.

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Comment of the day

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that as they start work on their car for 2024 they are looking once again at Red Bull’s sidepod design.

By many teams following Red Bull’s approach it has become a design trend, while Mercedes went for a ‘zero sidepod’ look with their design that ultimately led to an uncompetitive car compared to the Red Bull. Despite dropping that concept for 2023, they have remained off Red Bull’s pace and are evaluating ways they can return to the front of Formula 1.

If you look at the front and rear of the car you can easily see the issues its having with excessive drag. It really does look like their exhaust configuration (the product of their zero-sidepod concept?) is very bad for the rear wing. Ferrari and Red Bull’s traditional take on the sidepod/exhaust layout seems like a no brainer. Excess drag along the top of the chassis, is spoiling the flow of air under and over the rear wing, the rear wing is not performing as it should, because of this, and thus, they require a larger rear wing to compensate. This really looks obvious, might be wrong.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Dougy_D, Joaqo, Pabs1, Tomd11 and Pawel!

On this day in motorsport

  • 30 years ago today Alain Prost won the British Grand Prix after team mate Damon Hill retired with engine failure while leading

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 “‘We had to pit or we were going to catch fire’ – Ocon”

  1. I like that 0,3 sec penalty, that’s how you do it for really minor infractions such as a barely off track pass that would’ve happened on track anyway, like verstappen-raikkonen in austin 2017, and especially in SC situations where like they said and like it happened with sainz, the 5 sec penalty is massive compared to the offense for a slight track cut (though since sainz hit a car 5 sec was lenient, but we’ve seen plenty of such penalties for going off track).

    1. A 0.3 second penalty appears nowhere in any rules.
      If they wanted them to relinquish one position on track, then just apply that – they can do that any time, including under SC.

      The 5 second penalty is used to act not only a redress and a penalty for breaching the rules, but also as a deterrent. It should be harsh – and has regularly proven to not be anywhere near enough.

      1. Agree that the penalty should have a deterrent element as well as restoring the position to its rightful owner.

        Incidentally the 5-second penalty was invented (in F1 terms anyway) in similarly unsatisfactory circumstances, when multiple drivers breached the safety car delta times at Valencia 2010. The standard penalty would have been a drive-through, converted to 25 seconds after the flag, but for reasons known only to themselves the stewards decided to hand out 5-second penalties instead, despite them existing nowhere in the rules at the time, meaning that everyone maintained their positions.

        Mind you, that was the same race where Hamilton overtook the safety car and only got a drive-through penalty, which was worth less than the advantage he gained by cheating, so all in all a bad day at the office for the stewards.

    2. I don’t think this is good if they think if was not enough to punish her for that rule they shouldn’t.
      Now they create a new rule … very bad if they think she broke the rule 5 seconds and too bad she losses so many points she will think about this next time.

      In sports you have rules not for nothing now they are doing politics by bending and making up rules. If i am a team captain of the others i would protest not using the rules.

  2. DRS dumb? Not really, because that doesn’t make the driver ahead defenseless on the vast majority of circuits & activation zones + in Silverstone specifically, tyre differences & Checo being considerably out of position contributed to overtaking rather than DRS.

  3. 1993 British Grand Prix… I remember it like it was yesterday. I was gutted when Damon retired because he had the race in his pocket. Thanks for making me feel old!

  4. I agree with Alexander Rossi about DRS. It was brought in as an overtaking aid and the length of DRS zones are decided track by track. Therefore you’d expect the overtaking aid to provide an equal advantage for everyone. However, as they allow this to be developed by the team (ie as it’s part of the aero package) you can end up with different levels of effectiveness. This could lead to a DRS zone being too short for some teams or too long for other teams depending on how effective their DRS is.

    This advantage is then baked into qualifying as the cars are allowed to use DRS. Any extra speed some teams have through DRS then provides more qualifying time.

    If F1 needs an overtaking aid then it should give equal advantage to all cars. It also loses its effectiveness because it’s available all the time to everyone (leading to DRS trains etc). Indycar has their overtaking aid just right in my opinion – an equal power boost available in a limited total amount, to be deployed at the drivers discretion when tactically best throughout the race. I have no idea why F1 persists with DRS when this sort of option should be very simple to introduce.

    1. Totally agree that they shouldn’t be able to use DRS in qualifying. It defeats the point that an overtaking aid is being used for outright lap tme in Qualifying.

      Unless they do allow it in Quali, but only if you’re within a second of the car in front! Stop em spreading out so much.

      1. I liked it when they could use it unlimited in qualifying. It rewarded drivers to take risks using it through kinks and on exit of corners. Now it just means they can go quicker down the straight…

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