Ocon: Alpine probing causes of recent F1 qualifying slump

Esteban Ocon says Alpine will investigate whether recent updates and changes made to his Formula 1 car are the cause of a slump in his qualifying performances.

Ocon: Alpine probing causes of recent F1 qualifying slump

The Frenchman had started the 2021 campaign strongly, with a run of Q3 performances in Imola, Portugal and Spain – with a top five place in the latter.

However, he failed to make it out of Q2 in Monaco, Baku and France, and in Styria this weekend he had his worst qualifying performance of the season so far as he was out in Q1 to start 17th on the grid.

Ocon said that there was no clear explanation for why things appeared to have gone downhill in recent races, especially with team-mate Fernando Alonso having enjoyed in uplift in form.

“For sure we are not happy with where we are,” said Ocon. “It’s not the aim for me or the team to be out of Q1. We are clearly unhappy with this, so we are looking into details to understand why that is.

“Obviously the margins are quite small here, but we were lacking pace since FP3. From FP3 to qualy, we were not where we want to be.

“A few things have changed for sure on the car since those times. I don’t know if that’s the reason, but we are investigating at the moment what it can be.

“We see some areas on the data where we lacked performance compared to Fernando. We’ll see, we’ll see what comes out of this. But for sure, we need to regroup and come back with a stronger performance, because we are not happy with where we are now.”

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A521

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A521

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Alpine sporting director Alan Permane believes that Ocon’s deficit can be explained by small details – and perhaps looks worse than the reality in Austria because the track is so short.

“It’s tricky because here you miss a tenth or two and on such a short track like this then you are out,” he explained. “I think he was two tenths slower [than Alonso] in Q1, and that’s the difference between 11th and 17th. So it’s not much.

“He’s struggling a little bit high to low speed balance. Just dialling the car in there. A little too much understeer on the high speed and then if you try and correct that, you offset the low speed. I don’t think there’s anything sinister, nothing crazy, no big issues or anything like that.

Read Also:

“It’s a boring thing to say, but it’s just going to be hard work for him and just get on. I don’t mean it will be hard work for him to do it. I mean he and his guys need to work hard and they’ll find a solution and they’ll tweak it and he’ll back to where he was.

“He’s not suddenly forgotten how to drive at all. Of course it’s frustrating for him. I can see that. And he’s missed Q2, Q3 in the last couple of races. But he’ll be back. He’ll figure it out and he’ll be back for sure.”

shares
comments

Related video

Ferrari puzzled by DRS zone deficit at Styrian GP
Previous article

Ferrari puzzled by DRS zone deficit at Styrian GP

Next article

F1 Styrian GP live commentary and updates - race day

F1 Styrian GP live commentary and updates - race day
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Plus

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Formula 1
Aug 7, 2022
Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre? Plus

Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre?

Formula 1 has ambitious goals for improving its carbon footprint, but could this include banishing its favoured composite material? PAT SYMONDS considers the alternatives to carbonfibre and what use, if any, those materials have in a Formula 1 setting

Formula 1
Aug 6, 2022
How Russell has proven he deserves to be Hamilton's Mercedes heir Plus

How Russell has proven he deserves to be Hamilton's Mercedes heir

He’s fast, he’s smart, and he’s already shown he’s not going to let Max Verstappen intimidate him. George Russell won’t say it, but LUKE SMITH says he’s ready to take the lead at Mercedes when Lewis Hamilton moves on to a quieter life. And – whisper it – Mercedes and Lewis are starting to think so too

Formula 1
Aug 5, 2022