Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Alpine: Safe for Ocon to continue in Canadian GP with wobbly wing

Alpine Formula 1 boss Otmar Szafnauer says that the Enstone team was confident that Esteban Ocon could finish the Canadian GP despite the unusual behaviour of his rear wing.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, in the pits

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

In the closing stages of the race, the rear-facing camera on Ocon’s A523 showed the wing oscillating in dramatic fashion at high speed.

McLaren’s Lando Norris, who was following the Alpine closely, made it clear that he viewed it as a safety issue.

The FIA’s current policy in situations when there is an issue with items such as loose bodywork is that the onus is on the team to decide whether or not it is safe to continue.

Alpine decided that it was and Ocon duly carried on to the flag to claim eighth place.

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing,” said Szafnauer when asked about the wing by Autosport. 

“It didn't fail. So it stayed on. We designed that wing and we manufacture it. So that failure mode was probably most familiar to us. And we were happy that it wasn't going to come off.

"We test for that in R&D, so we put it through those tests, just because of the way it's mounted, and we, therefore, see those types of modes and understand if it's going to come off or not. So we're happy that with all the testing that we do, it wasn't.”

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Photo by: Patrick Vinet / Motorsport Images

Szafnauer confirmed that the team spoke to race control: "We talked about it, and the FIA came to us as well and said it looks like your rear wing's moving, and we looked at it and talked about it. We were confident that with a couple laps left that it was going to be fine."

Asked if the part concerned new for the Montreal weekend he said: "Not the bottom. The top was an update.”

Ocon finished the race behind one-stopper Alex Albon having made two stops, and Szafnauer was adamant that the Frenchman would have finished ahead had they followed the same strategy.

"Williams did one less stop that we did,” he said. “And it was difficult to predict if the tyre was going to make it to the end.

“And I think Williams had nothing to lose. Had they stopped, they wouldn't have been in the points. We did stop. 

"And in the end, we're probably, I don't know, six to seven-tenths of a lap quicker than him. With that seven-tenths and DRS and their strategy of low drag, we couldn't overtake them.

"Looking back at it now and just seeing what they did, we would have done the same and made it, and would have been a couple of places ahead.”

Asked if the wing issue had slowed Ocon he said: "It's a good question, we were just looking at the aero data. The aerodynamicists were saying nothing big, but it could have had an impact on floor aerodynamics as well, because it's a beam wing issue, and those are interactive.”

Meanwhile, Pierre Gasly’s race was ruined by a tyre change just before a safety car gave a cheap stop to most of his rivals. He eventually finished 12th.

"Pierre was compromised because we pitted him early for clean air because he had good underlying pace, and then the safety car came out,” said Szafnauer. "So once that happened with everyone pitting, and pitting in less time, his race was compromised."

 

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Ferrari plans factory talks over Canada Q2 F1 strategy calls
Next article Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe