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Ocon: Abu Dhabi F1 tyre test “super important” to iron out weakness

Esteban Ocon says that Tuesday’s Pirelli test in Abu Dhabi will be crucial in helping his Alpine Formula 1 team to get a better understanding of its car.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The Enstone outfit has suffered from inconsistent form this year, with a strong race in Las Vegas – where Ocon finished fourth – followed by a disappointing weekend at the Yas Marina track that saw both cars outside the points.

Ocon says that going straight into a test at a venue where the team struggled will help the team learn some lessons, with reserve driver Jack Doohan also providing input in the rookie car.

Although the testing is overseen by Pirelli the fact that regular 2023 tyres are being used as they are being carried into next season will give teams useful extra data.

"If it was a weekend like Las Vegas, it would not be worth very much for us, because we were competitive,” Ocon said after the Abu Dhabi race. “But on a track where we struggled that much, there is a lot for us to understand.

“If we can pick up something before next year, why that was, then it's going to be a good thing. So that's why the test is going to be super important.

“I'm already thinking about it, already thinking about that five o'clock time where it's going to be almost dark, and try to figure out something."

Ocon stressed that the team has to use the opportunity to understand its rollercoaster form.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Photo by: Jake Grant / Motorsport Images

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

“What is more important is for us to be understanding what has been happening this season, quite a lot of up and down in terms of performance, in terms of pace,” he said. “Today we were not quick enough, unfortunately, to get into the top 10 and to score points.

“And the consistency, I think, is what we need to get better, clearly. So good opportunities that we took, as Monaco, as Las Vegas and stuff like that, but quite a lot we didn't, like Singapore and Austin.

“And if you take these two, we probably could have been in the top 10 in the championship in drivers'. And it's worth what it's worth, but clearly, it means that we didn't maximise the season.

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“So it's going to be important to fix all of those things for next year, and start and be on top of them."

Ocon had been unwell heading into the Abu Dhabi weekend, spending two days in bed. After qualifying he admitted he was not yet at 100%, and he still wasn’t fully fit for Sunday’s race.

“I’m probably 98 now, I was probably 85 yesterday, so it's going in the right curve,” he said. “Really the biggest challenge is always a test, the whole day in the car, when you don't feel great.

“So I'm glad that I'm starting to feel better, because it would be quite a tough one otherwise on Tuesday, and looking at how we struggled this weekend, it's going to be a very important test for us. So I’m looking forward to see what we can extract out of that."

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