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Ocon: Alpine must keep chin up through tough F1 2024 start

Esteban Ocon has urged Alpine not to get too discouraged by its painful start to the 2024 Formula 1 season after he and team-mate Pierre Gasly qualified on the last row in Bahrain.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Friday night's Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying confirmed Alpine's fears over starting the year on the back foot following a late car concept change this winter.

The Enstone team's fortunes are not expected to change dramatically until it can bring upgrades to its A524's base design, which could take five to six races.

It means both Frenchmen await the unenviable task of keeping morale up at the beleaguered outfit off the back of an already turbulent 2023, which Ocon took up right from his Q1 in-lap.

"Only round one, only round one," he said on the team radio. "We keep pushing. There’s a race tomorrow as well. I’ve got faith in you guys."

When asked by Autosport how crucial it will be to be a patient leader through the early part of 2024, he replied: "Yeah, it's super important, for sure.

"We don't like the situation as a whole, no one likes to be at the back. We're all competitors in this team.

"And it's very important to be united, to keep the chin up and move forward.

"This team some years ago they created a winning car and those ideas were made in the same place as it is today, Viry and Enstone.

"So, we can be repeating all these things, and I trust the team to be making a step forward."

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

A silver lining for Alpine is that the entire grid was covered by a second and that Ocon and Gasly only missed out on Q2 by one and three tenths, in 19th and 20th respectively.

It means that if Alpine's concept switch does start paying off, there will be a clear path to move up the order.

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"Every little detail counts," he nodded. "And that's where by staying united and keeping on pushing all together I'm sure we are going to extract a couple of tenths.

"And a couple of tenths could make us pass two teams today and put us very close to Q2. Everything will make a difference until the end.

"It's not because we are here now that in five or six race time it's going to be the same story.

"We will see tomorrow exactly where we are on a longer run. I think we could be closer to the others."

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