Esteban Ocon is set to embark on his second season at the newly rebranded Alpine F1 Team and is ‘excited’ to drive alongside two-time world champion Fernando Alonso.
Alpine F1 Team, previously Renault DP Sport, launched their 2021 challenger on Tuesday (March 2) ahead of the new campaign, which kicks off at Bahrain later this month, and the team are hoping to maintain their presence in the midfield pack.
Ocon will look to build on a promising 2020 campaign which saw the Frenchman collect his maiden podium in the Sakhir Grand Prix and finished in a respectable 12th in the world championship.
He will be partnered by one of the most experienced F1 drivers on the grid in Alonso, who has raced in 311 Grand Prix’s, collecting 32 wins and 97 podiums along the way.
The Frenchman is ‘excited’ and looking forward to how a two-time world champion works. He said: “I’m very much looking forward to working with Fernando. It’s exciting to see how a two-time Formula 1 world champion works and to be teaming up with him is a privilege. I’m definitely looking forward as we’ll have a great collaboration.
“We already started to work together towards the end of the year and there’s going to be more of that in the coming days and weeks. It’s all positive and I look forward to hearing what he says about the car.”
It was announced in September that Renault would be rebranded as Alpine for the 2021 F1 season, going from the iconic red and yellow livery to a mix of red, white and blue, a token to their history in racing and represents the colours of the French and British flags.
Ocon was very proud to see the French representation on the car and is looking forward to another challenging season on the F1 grid. He said: “I’m very excited. I think it’s great to see the changes in the team and seeing new colours is always exciting. I’ve already had my first outing as an Alpine driver at Rallye Monte-Carlo, which was a brilliant way to start the year.
“I have to say, I love the new colours and having the French flag on the car makes me very proud. It’s great, it’s exciting and I think it’s going to be a great season ahead.”
Ocon’s 2020 season started slowly before having a strong finish at the backend of the season, including that sensational maiden podium at the Sakhir Grand Prix after finishing second behind Sergio Pérez.
He acknowledges the slow start to last year’s campaign and wants to continue his good performances from the end of the 2020 season, saying: “I aim to start stronger. I finished last season a lot stronger than how I started it. I want to start on that level straight away and find more improvements throughout the year. I don’t put too many specific targets for the year, but, initially, starting stronger on a personal level is the first aim.
“Claiming a podium last season has done a lot of good things. Of course, standing on the podium in Formula 1 has always been one of my goals and dreams. I wanted to get that at some point, so to do it last season was fantastic.
“Now we have ticked that box, that’s one thing done, but we want to have more of them and that’s very clear. We know it’s going to be a very tight season as our competitors are going to be working hard. It’s going to be close, but we’re aiming for more good results this year.”
It’s not a long-wait until F1 supporters get to witness Alpine 2021 livery on the track, with pre-season testing set to take place next weekend in Bahrain.