Gasly and Ocon endure “super-painful” Italian GP

2023 Italian Grand Prix

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Alpine’s drivers endured a nightmare Italian Grand Prix.

Pierre Gasly, who was on the podium a week earlier at Zandvoort, finished a lowly 15th. His team mate Esteban Ocon retired with a steering problem.

Neither driver made it beyond Q1 on Saturday, in a performance they admitted was “not good enough”, and on Sunday both were brutal with their assessment of the Alpine A523’s performance around Monza.

“It’s been super-painful,” Gasly told media including RaceFans on Sunday. “I don’t think we have ever had such a lack of competitiveness compared to our rivals.

“We knew straight away from the start of the season that [Monza] will be a painful one, but it was clearly very difficult out there. We saw it yesterday, we knew there will not be any magic overnight, but it’s just pretty painful from inside the cockpit.”

Ocon made it up to tenth place before pitting on lap 24 of 51, while Gasly pitted early and had to make a second stop with 20 laps to go, having got no higher than 15th.

“When you’re lacking so much performance like that you’ve just got to gamble,” he rued, with his strategy almost leading to him being lapped at the end of the race by winner Max Verstappen.

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Monza is a low-downforce track where straight-line speed has a greater impact on performance than at other venues. Alpine have raised concerns about the performance of their Renault power unit in recent weeks. They unsuccessfully lobbied the FIA to equalise performance between manufacturers as they feel they lost out in the engine development freeze that came into place at the start of last year.

However Gasly believes it wasn’t just the performance their power unit which held the team back.

“We knew it was always going to be difficult, but I think the most important is really to understand and quantify where is that drop of performance coming from and come back next year with a stronger package,” he said. “We knew it’s a very power sensitive track, but it’s the whole package which has got to be better for this track.”

Ocon said the Monza weekend was “a good one in terms of learning and looking at the difficulties that we had.” He expects “there’s going to be plenty of analysis” of their problems in the two weeks before the Singapore Grand Prix.

Following his pit stop, Ocon dropped down to last and only moved up a place back once his team mate pitted for a second time. He gained three more positions from other drivers pitting, and was running 15th on the lap before he retired.

“I’ve had worse [weekends] in the past, with my first team, especially, and further off the pace,” said Ocon, who started his Formula 1 career in 2016 with the now-defunct Manor squad which only scored one point that year. “There’s plenty from us more to come,” he added.

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2023 Italian 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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5 comments on “Gasly and Ocon endure “super-painful” Italian GP”

  1. While the subpar performance was expected for Monza, the general inconsistency in Team Enstone’s performance level is baffling & how they seemingly never become more competitive like AM & Mclaren managed.
    I don’t have much hope about them ever battling for top positions again.

    1. Coventry Climax
      4th September 2023, 21:53

      I don’t know. McLaren has taken a long time to make steps forward again, Williams took ages.
      What it takes for Renault is to have the top management take a genuine interest in getting their team to deliver.
      At the moment, it’s parked under a sub brand. And that too, by the way, isn’t very actively promoted – or developed. They have just one type, as far as I know. And it’s not like we see those A110’s in abundance on the road, do we?
      But still, maybe the coin will drop sometime, and there’s no saying what might happen in the future.

  2. Coventry Climax
    4th September 2023, 21:42

    Alpine have raised concerns about the performance of their Renault power unit in recent weeks. They unsuccessfully lobbied the FIA to equalise performance between manufacturers as they feel they lost out in the engine development freeze that came into place at the start of last year.

    No Renault, you lost out already years before that, to the point that Red Bull ditched you in favor of another power unit manufacturer, at a moment in time where it wasn’t all that obvious they would manage to create a fast and reliable engine either. But Red Bull was so fed up with your sorry excuses and empty talk they took the gamble. So that’s where you lost out already.

    1. This exactly. Their engines/PU’s performances have been poor to awful even since the V8 era albeit offset somewhat by the fact it was in a winning car designed by Newey.

      Lack of performance and lack of reliability and in reality lack of interest in changing either of those. Who in their right mind would want one in the back of their car.

    2. +1 This is all on Renault which never could give a good hybrid engine to Red Bull only at great heights probaly of their bigger Turbo.

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