According to Estaban Ocon, Alpine needs to extract the maximum from its 2021 Formula 1 car if it is to secure a place in the top 10 this season. Ocon made this statement after failing to score points in the season opening Bahrain GP.
In 2020, Alpine enjoyed a strong campaign with three podiums to their name after finishing fifth in the constructors’ championship.
But at Bahrain, both Ocon and his fellow driver Fernando Alonso failed to score points. This was the first time since 2008 that at least one Renault-powered car didn’t score in an F1 grand prix.
Ocon only managed 16th during the qualifying after encountering yellow flags on his final lap in Q1. The Frenchman said that a better starting position would have allowed him to seek out points during the Bahrain season opener.
“I think if we started further up the road, I think we could be fighting for points, for sure,” Ocon said.
“I fought with the Aston Martin of Vettel today and Lance finished in the points. We were fighting with those cars. It’s clear what hurt us was the starting position.
“I think if we were starting inside the top ten, of course, you’re already in the points, but 11th or 12th, that would have been a chance for us to get into the points. But [only] just, clearly. We don’t have any margin, we clearly need to extract the maximum out of the car to do that.
“We have clear ways of seeing where we are, lacking a little bit of performance or where we have an area to improve. We know where it is, it’s up to us to find that and find more pace for the next events. That gives us a bit more margin.”
The cars in 2021 are mostly a carryover from 2020 but according to Ocon, the changes in the floor area have had a more significant impact that previously anticipated.
“Everyone says, it’s a year we keep the same rules, it’s a carryover from last year,” Ocon added.
“This is not the reality in fact. In fact, most of the car is new for everybody, for us, for sure, we know what we have on the car.
“Everybody lost a good amount of grip and downforce and everybody is trying to get that back on the car. For sure at the moment with those new rules, everybody is slower, we are as well compared to the car we had last year.
“So we know where to find the time and we know where to recover the lap time. The part of spotting where it is, is done, now we have to do it.”
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