Alpine: Ocon has what it takes to lead the F1 team in 2023

Alpine Formula 1 boss Otmar Szafnauer believes that Esteban Ocon has what it takes to lead the team following Fernando Alonso’s departure at the end of this season.

Alpine: Ocon has what it takes to lead the F1 team in 2023

Szafnauer says that the Frenchman’s only weakness is that he can take too long to find the limits at the start of the race weekend.

Aston Martin announced last week that it had signed Alonso for 2023, and it’s not yet clear who will replace him at the Enstone outfit.

The team had hoped to slot reserve driver Oscar Piastri into the seat, and announced him last Tuesday.

However, the Australian is understood to have signed a contract with McLaren and quickly took to social media to deny that he would be racing for Alpine next year.

While Alpine is still pursuing its claim on Piastri, with the matter expected to go to the Contract Recognition Board, the team management is now considering other drivers.

The list includes former Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg, but many of the candidates have less experience than Ocon, potentially leaving him as de facto team leader next year.

Szafnauer says that Ocon proved his worth alongside Sergio Perez at Force India/Racing Point in 2017 and 2018.

“Esteban is a super talent,” he noted. “I worked with him at Force India and those were the days of Sergio Perez as his team-mate.

“And he was as quick as Sergio and raced Sergio hard, and if you remember those days, they were always together on the grid. And sometimes they even came together in the races! And we see what Sergio is capable of.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1 Team, Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, Alpine F1, and Fernando Alonso, Alpine F1 Team

Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1 Team, Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, Alpine F1, and Fernando Alonso, Alpine F1 Team

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

“With Fernando too, although Fernando's got the skill and the talent to get a lap out of the car very quickly.

“He needs three or four laps and he’s at 99%, or 99.9%, and that extra 0.1% comes with a few laps more, if you know what I mean, whereas Esteban takes a little bit more time to get the maximum out of the car.

Read Also:

“But ultimately, on Saturday, and then Sunday, he's there. So he needs to learn a little bit to get there a bit faster. But we're working with him on that.

“And thereafter, can he lead the team? For sure he's getting better and better. He's got a race win under his belt. He’s scored good points for us this year. And he'll learn more by the time we get to next year.”

shares
comments

Related video

McLaren explains gaps between F1 qualifying and race pace
Previous article

McLaren explains gaps between F1 qualifying and race pace

Next article

Why Piastri's attempt to join McLaren carries implications of risk

Why Piastri's attempt to join McLaren carries implications of risk
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Plus

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded MAURICE HAMILTON of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Audi’s innovative first assault on grand prix racing Plus

Audi’s innovative first assault on grand prix racing

It has been a long time coming but Audi’s arrival in Formula 1 is finally on the horizon for 2026. But it won’t be its first foray into grand prix racing, as the German manufacturer giant has a history both long and enthralling

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination Plus

The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination

After a tooth and nail and, at times, toxic Formula 1 world championship scrap last year, Max Verstappen's march to a second consecutive title has been the exact opposite. But has he really changed in 2022? Here's a dive into what factors have played a crucial role, both inside the Verstappen camp and elsewhere, in the Dutch driver's domination

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
Why Hamilton is still the man to keep driving Mercedes forward Plus

Why Hamilton is still the man to keep driving Mercedes forward

Lewis Hamilton’s words in a recent Vanity Fair interview define both his world-view and his approach to this season: one of perpetual struggle against adversity. As GP RACING explains, that’s what Lewis feeds off – and why, far from being down and nearly out, he’s using his unique skillset to spearhead Mercedes’ revival…

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2022
The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight Plus

The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight

The pecking order in 2022's Formula 1 season may look pretty static as the season draws to a close, but the unique nature of the cost cap means that preparation for next season takes precedence. New developments are being pushed back to 2023 - which could mask the technical development war ongoing...

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2022
How one retro event could prove an alluring prospect for Formula 1 stars Plus

How one retro event could prove an alluring prospect for Formula 1 stars

While Formula 1 drivers taking part in retro events can prove costly, as Charles Leclerc discovered at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix, the Goodwood Revival could prove an interesting experiment for today's stars. As the event's own Tourist Trophy race proves it means serious business, a race for current F1 drivers feels as though it’s in line with where the event is currently at

Goodwood Revival
Sep 21, 2022
The surprise biggest indicator of Ferrari's 2022 F1 points downfall Plus

The surprise biggest indicator of Ferrari's 2022 F1 points downfall

Looking back to the early races of 2022 and Ferrari’s challenge to Red Bull and Max Verstappen was going better than many expected. But it has lost so much ground a surprise rival can even pip Charles Leclerc to runner-up in the standings if given the chance

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2022
How Tyrrell and Stewart forged parallel paths to F1 stardom Plus

How Tyrrell and Stewart forged parallel paths to F1 stardom

The young Ken Tyrrell was barely 
aware of motor racing – until a trip with 
his village football team to the British
 Grand Prix set him on the road to
 becoming a Formula 1 constructor. MAURICE HAMILTON details the humble beginning of Tyrrell and how Ken linked up with Jackie Stewart…

Formula 1
Sep 19, 2022