Alpine upgrades ‘not a revolution’ – Ocon

Fri, 5 April 2024, 09:00

Apr.5 (GMM) Alpine’s disheartened drivers are playing down hopes of a big step forward this weekend at Suzuka.

Despite being Renault’s works team, Alpine emerged from the winter break – and a 2023 season full of management and shareholding turmoil – with the slowest car in this year’s field.

The first upgrades of the season have been unveiled in Japan.

“These are small developments,” Esteban Ocon warned to Canal Plus. “It’s the first time this year that we’ve added new parts to the car.

“But they’re not major. We shouldn’t expect a change in hierarchy really. But we will be interested to see where exactly the car stands in relation to the others with these new parts and how it behaves.”

One of the most basic problems with the 2024 car, apart from an admittedly underpowered engine, is the fact that the overall package is as much as 10 kilograms overweight.

“We’ve also taken a little bit of weight off the car,” Ocon said, “which is a good thing – it’s free performance. So we’ll see where it takes us, but in any case, it won’t be a revolution.”

Teammate Pierre Gasly, meanwhile, has a similar public warning about the Suzuka upgrade, insisting it was “planned before the season” rather than as a major reaction to the shocking start to 2024.

“It’s nice to have this first upgrade on the car,” he said. “But it’s sort of following the development plan that already had in place. We don’t expect it to be major.

“We know it’s not going to bring us where we want to be, but it’s a first step in the right direction, so definitely looking forward to see what it brings.”

Gasly therefore does not expect the jump will be enough for Alpine to suddenly leap out of the doldrums of Q1 in Japan.

“I don’t want to give any specific targets,” he said. “We know it should be a small step of performance on the car, which we obviously need from where we are today.

“We need more but definitely it’s positive to see that these first upgrades are on the car and more should follow in the next few months.”

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