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Formula 1 Hungarian GP

Ocon's seat broke in two pieces after Hungary F1 crash sent him airborne

Esteban Ocon has revealed his seat broke after being thrown “four metres” into the air during a first-corner crash that eliminated both Alpines from Formula 1’s 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Alfa Romeo driver Guanyu Zhou appeared to trigger anti-stall when he attempted to launch from fifth on the grid after starring in qualifying. As he worked to recover, he nosed into the back of the returning Daniel Ricciardo under braking into the Turn 1 downhill right-hander.

This projected the AlphaTauri into Ocon and the rear axle of his Alpine was launched into the air. He landed on the sidepod of team-mate Pierre Gasly. 

The latter returned to the pits at the end of the opening lap with a right-rear tyre failure, rear wing damage and a hole in the engine cover bodywork.

He was retired before Ocon was withdrawn at the end of the following lap, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner later revealing his seat had broken as a result of the ‘four-metre’ airborne shunt.

Ocon explained: “We just suffered a strike into Turn 1. It’s just a mistake from Zhou in the back. That led us to a massive hit.

“I took off by, I don’t know, three metres, four metres on the rear wheels. When I landed, there was a big hit. 

"My seat broke in pieces, in two parts. So that tells how much the impact was.

“Unfortunately, both cars were out after that. Those are the consequences from racing at the back. People tend to take more risk. We knew it and we suffered from it today.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523, heads to the pits with a puncture

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523, heads to the pits with a puncture

Photo by: Michael Potts / Motorsport Images

“We’re going to be racing next week and that’s the good thing because we can forget quickly this weekend.”

Zhou copped a five-second penalty for initiating the collision and had two penalty points added to his licence. The stewards reasoned that the Alfa driver tagging Ricciardo had “caused a chain reaction upfront”.

They added: “Although this was a lap-one incident, where some leeway is given to the drivers who get caught up in the middle of a number of cars, this particular incident was not one of those.

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“[Zhou] got off to a slow start and simply did not slow down enough when approaching the corner, resulting in an unnecessary collision.”

Gasly, who started 15th, noted the whole team's disappointment after a strong initial launch but he acknowledged Alpine had been “lacking pace and not fast enough” all weekend.

Team boss Otmar Szafnauer said it was “like bowling” into Turn 1. On Ocon’s seat breaking, he added: “They are lightweight, made of carbon, so if you come down on them in the right way they split.”

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