The trait displayed by F1’s newest winner to earn Alpine’s trust
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The trait displayed by F1’s newest winner to earn Alpine’s trust

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Alpine raised eyebrows when it awarded Esteban Ocon an unusual three-year contract. Even more so when his performances seemed to tail off once he had that contract in his pocket. Now, after Ocon brilliantly seized the moment to win in Hungary, Alpine’s decision seems to be vindicated. LUKE SMITH analyses why Ocon loosened his Mercedes ties to stick with ‘Team Enstone’

From the seasoned veteran to the hopeful debutant and all points on the career trajectory in between, stability is a commodity all Formula 1 drivers covet. For those looking to gain a foothold in F1 that usually means a manufacturer team’s junior academy or a wealthy benefactor – even the most talented prospect might not be able to flourish without powerful support and investment.

That’s something Esteban Ocon has rarely been able to rely on. He’s seen a lot that most Formula 1 drivers haven’t. He’s lived out of a caravan with his parents, who sold their family home to keep him karting. He’s faced uncertainty in junior series despite a stunning record (it is often overlooked that he beat Max Verstappen to the European F3 title). Twice in F1 he’s raced for teams operating on the edge of financial oblivion, and slipped through the cracks in the driver market as a result – at one point spending a year on the sidelines.

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