FEBRUARY 29, 2024

Ocon admits Alpine may be dead last in 2024

Esteban Ocon has joined his Alpine teammate Pierre Gasly in admitting they may be racing "the worst car" early in 2024.

Esteban Ocon, Abu Dhabi GP 2023
© Alpine

It is believed the works Renault team may indeed have slumped behind Haas to bring up the rear in Formula 1 this year, amid suggestions the 2024 car is overweight and still underpowered.

We still don't know exactly, team boss Bruno Famin told DAZN, we have to analyse it better, but weight is always a factor.

Auto Motor und Sport believes prominent Alpine engineers are now eyeing the exit door - with the out-of-contract Ocon and Gasly also on the lookout for a faster car for 2025.

It didn't come as a complete surprise, Ocon admitted in Bahrain when asked about the rumours of Alpine's struggles with its 2024 car.

We had already noticed in the simulator where the weaknesses were compared to the old car.

He didn't say what the main weakness is, but admits Alpine has been caught out by rival teams who made bigger-than-expected gains from 2023 to 2024.

I think the other teams have improved significantly more than we expected, said Ocon. "Unfortunately, you can never predict something like that with any precision.

There's one problem that's bigger than the others, he added, without elaborating. "We were able to solve the smaller things during the test. The balance isn't actually that bad.

But it will take time for us to get back on track. We recognised early exactly what we need to work on, and have passed this on to Enstone and Viry.

27-year-old Ocon, who is managed by Mercedes' Toto Wolff, said McLaren is an example of a team that started slow last year but ultimately made big strides with upgrades.

Ocon is hoping for that now.

Until you deliver progress, you can't be sure that it will come, he warns. But I have to trust my team. If that wasn't the case, there wouldn't be any reason to be here.

But for the time being, Ocon doesn't deny that he and Gasly might be chasing Haas this weekend in Bahrain.

You're selling Alpine as the worst car, he smiled to reporters. That's definitely a possibility because the cars haven't raced against each other yet. We'll know more in two days.