Ocon says Alpine “weren’t ready” with front wing after crash

2023 Belgian Grand Prix

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Esteban Ocon says his error in crashing during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix was compounded because his team did not have a replacement front wing ready in time.

The Alpine driver said that cost him his last chance to reach the top 10 in qualifying at the Spa-Francorchamps yesterday.

Ocon was eliminated in last place in Q2 after he hit the barrier at turn nine, damaging his car’s front wing. He returned to the pits for a replacement but the team did not have a fresh wing ready immediately. The delay meant Ocon missed his chance to return to the track for a final lap.

He admitted he had been at fault for the original error, but believes he could have recovered from it had the team fitted a new front wing immediately.

“That mistake is on me, obviously, I missed the corner,” said Ocon. “But we had plenty of time to go again if we had managed to change the front wing.

“Unfortunately the front wing wasn’t ready and it took like 30 seconds or 40 seconds to find it. From there obviously we couldn’t go again and we couldn’t retry. So a mistake on my side, a mistake on the team’s side. It’s not good for us today.”

He called his error “a mistake that I don’t accept.”

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“I don’t want to be doing these things,” said Ocon. “I do them very rarely but when it happens we need to be on top of them and we haven’t been on top from one side or the other, my side or the team’s side. So, today we missed it.”

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023
Gallery: 2023 Belgian Grand Prix qualifying in pictures
However he praised the team for a well-timed call in switching him to slick tyres as the track dried out. “It was too early for the first lap, but it was going to be good for the last one, so that was the right decision,” he said.

Ocon qualified 15th and will start 14th on Sunday after Kevin Magnussen’s penalty. Pierre Gasly will start 12th in the other Alpine, and isn’t convinced a top 10 start was possible, as he set his car up for the drier conditions which are expected for the grand prix.

“It was extremely tricky from Q1 in these damp conditions,” said Gasly. “A lot of evolution from one lap to another and through all Q1 and Q2. So, tricky, but I think that we did the best we could.

“Unfortunately we don’t have the speed at the moment to qualify in the top 10. It was a good lap. We marginally passed the line and were not in an ideal position, but the lap was clean. I was a bit close to Magnussen in front, but we did the best we could.

“We know we didn’t set up the car for these conditions, it should be a bit better for Sunday racing-wise. So we’re not that far from the points and we’ll try everything to get some points.”

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2023 Belgian Grand Prix

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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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3 comments on “Ocon says Alpine “weren’t ready” with front wing after crash”

  1. Replacement front wings should also be ready for quick use, so incompetence.

  2. Clearly a management issue. Heads should roll.

    1. That’s the problem when you behead a team before the race.

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