Singapore and Austin retirements cost me top 10 championship place – Ocon

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Esteban Ocon rued the lack of consistency in his 2023 campaign, after his lowest-scoring season since 2018.

The Alpine driver finished third in the Monaco Grand Prix, the first time he has reached the podium since winning the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, and took fourth in the Las Vegas Grand Prix. But the rest of the season was much less successful and he only twice scored in more than two races consecutively over the 22 rounds.

“The consistency, I think this is what we need to get better, clearly,” said Ocon after coming 12th in the standings.

“There were good opportunities that we took, as in Monaco, Las Vegas, stuff like that. But quite a lot [missed], like Singapore and Austin.

“If you take these two, we probably could have been in the top 10 in the championship for drivers. Clearly it does mean that we didn’t maximise this season. It’s going to be important to fix all of those things for next year.”

Ocon qualified eighth for the Singapore Grand Prix and was running sixth when a fault with his gearbox sent him into retirement. He qualified eighth again at the United States Grand Prix but collided with McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, leading to bodywork damage which forced him out a few laps later.

The Alpine driver failed to meet the chequered flag in eight races this season, more than anyone else, due to a combination of incidents and technical problems. The latter ended his participation in the Bahrain season opener.

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Team mate Pierre Gasly crashed into him at the late restart in the Australian Grand Prix and a hydraulics leak put Ocon out early in the British Grand Prix. He was eliminated in a first-corner crash at the Hungarian Grand Prix, a steering fault prompted him to retire from the Italian Grand Prix, and in the sprint race at Losail he was taken out in a three-car collision.

“There’s been some very good things, some very good opportunities that we took, but the consistency overall hasn’t been there and we had too many DNFs,” Ocon admitted. “That has cost us.

“I think it’s [eight] DNFs, probably the most of any drivers. If you remove the issue we have with the gearbox in Singapore and the contact with Oscar in Austin, we could have been in the top 10 in the championship. So that’s where it’s a little bit of a wasted opportunity.”

Ocon scored 58 points, four fewer than Gasly and 16 fewer than Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll who was 10th in the standings. Had Ocon finished sixth in Singapore and seventh at Circuit of the Americas, he could have made the championship’s top 10 on third place countback.

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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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22 comments on “Singapore and Austin retirements cost me top 10 championship place – Ocon”

  1. Awww… poor Esteban and his retirements.
    Karma came full circle for Esteban this season. Last year he was gloating about how he narrowly finished in front of Alonso in the points standings, despite knowing that Alonso lost close to 70 points through 9 or 10 retirements that season. He was completely outclassed by Alonso in 2022, but wanted to spin a stat in favour of his ‘awesomeness’.

    This season he was probably the better Alpine driver (narrowly maybe), but his retirements in a couple of strong races, resulted in him finishing behind Gasly in the points. So, obviously he has to give his opinion on how the points total isn’t everything.

    1. Indeed, no sympathy given the circumstances.

    2. Rewriting history all over again.

      This dude just posted a random number of 70 points (glad it wasn’t 100 points, more round number) and “9 or 10 retirements”.

      In fact, Alonso didn’t even achieve to “9 or 10” retirements in two seasons with Alpine, let alone single 2022 season.

      He was completely outclassed by Alonso in 2022, which is perfectly explained by their average racepace, being approx. 0.205% (0.198s) in favor of Alonso. Third closest pairing on the grid, behind Haas (0.027% in favor of Schumacher) and Mercedes (0.091% in favor of Hamilton). For comparison, Norris had 0.453% (0.403s) over Ricciardo.

      Maybe Alonso destroyed Ocon in races when both finished?
      Nope, Alonso won 8-7. Only one race more. What a way to destroy his teammate. It’s not like he dominated him 10-5 or something.

      But what can you expect by Alonso stan? Surely not sticking to the facts, but just sticking to the narrative how great Alonso is.

    3. Haha. Indeed and the timing of this interview is suspicious as well, Esteban is clearly trying to talk himself up – probably hoping he will be ranked higher than Gasly and Alonso in this years Racefans drivers ranking.

      1. And judging how Gasly often felt Ocon got treated better in the race strategy, there is also a real benefit to be gained from spinning yourself as a clear better driver than your teammate.

      2. Yep, surely nothing matters for Esteban more than his RF ranking

    4. Besides, all of his nearest competitors experienced DNFs too due to mechanical issues. So, his statement is pretty rich. Esteban has shown he’s a solid driver, but an absolutely terrible teammate, which makes him not a great driver for rebuilding a team. I doubt we see him in F1 after his contract runs out.

    5. Spot in. I must admit I take some delight in this failure after his shameful behavior Las year.. He is such a dislikeable character.

  2. sure and Ocon is a decent driver, we all know he is top 10, but not finishing top 10 isnt anything as bad luck as losing a championship the way Hamilton did in 2021, where a championship of all things, not a top 10 place, was literally stolen from him and handed on a plate to another driver.

    1. Not at all, verstappen outperformed hamilton in 2021, hamilton had better luck even including abu dhabi, if hamilton had won that title, THEN it’d have been a stolen championship from verstappen.

    2. As in abu dhabi is probably a 15 points luck swing, only 1\3 of what hamilton had across the season.

    3. Her’s hoping that by the year 3021 this broken record will be trashed already

    4. You can say that. Or point to the many other mistakes that season. But that doesn’t fit the narrative you are clearly to still sell

  3. Coventry Climax
    14th December 2023, 11:14

    The inconsistency he talks about, is only partly not his fault. That simply has to change, he’s correct there. Given his collision history though, I can’t see it happen.

    He was hailed into F1 with a lot of broohaha and promise, but has already lost nearly all of that a couple years in.
    If next year is not going to be substantially better, his career is going down the path of the likes of Trulli and Herbert, if he even gets the chance to stay around that long.

    1. I agree. He has been rather underwhelming since his entry. Personally I would like to see a system in which this category driver is taken part off/said goodbye to rather sooner than later, to open up the chance for new talent to enter. I am sure the Herbert, Trulli, Ocon (and the list goes on including 10 people of the current grid..) category has some added value to teams in terms of data gathering or whatever but they seem misplaced in a sport that is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport.

  4. Being the established driver in that team for 3 years he should have had the new boy Gasly well covered, but Gasly has more or less been a match for Ocon and outperformed him on occasion. He’s a good driver and capable of special performances like Monaco, but he goes missing too often in races, if he could maintain that level all the time then we might all be talking about him being in that elite bracket.

    He’s also SO not a team player, he’s clashed with every team mate he’s had in F1 except for Pascal Wehrlein at Manor. Perez Singapore ’18, Ricciardo Turkey ’20, Alonso Brazil ’22 and Gasly Australia ’23. Would love to know if anyone can point to a driver who has clashed with his teammates as many times as this or more?

    He needs to tune down the way he races his teammates, that’s just not acceptable to race your teammate as hard, if not harder than any other driver on the grid. We also need to remember his contract is up for renewal at the end of this coming season, surely Alpine might consider dumping Ocon and going for Albon, Perez or Bottas to partner Gasly if available.

  5. he’s clashed with every team mate he’s had in F1 except for Pascal Wehrlein at Manor

    They actually also clashed in their last race for Manor in Abu Dhabi – can’t really recall who was at fault.

    1. Wow, well done you, for finding that one out. He might well have a unique record in F1 then? So he’s clashed with all 5 of his F1 teammates. 100% record.

      1. Thanks for finding that.

        Abysmal is what comes to mind. Read the article, his excuses for the incident. It led me to recognize that he hasn’t changed one bit. He has also never taken responsibility for his mistakes.

        It’s frankly astonishing he’s been in F1 for this long with those issues. He’s fast, but not fast enough that he can be allowed to be a prima Donna.

        1. Totally agree. Time to grow up Esteban.

  6. My heart bleeds for you Esteban. Hope it gives you solace

  7. This would be true if you were the only driver to retire this season. What a meaningless point.

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