2021 will be Esteban Ocon’s second year in a row at the team based in Enstone, now re-branded to Alpine. After losing out last year to Daniel Ricciardo who has moved to McLaren, Ocon faces another great challenge in going up against someone of the pedigree of Fernando Alonso and this year is a crucial year for Esteban Ocon if he wants to remain in Formula 1.
Bahrain is a track that Formula 1 has spent a lot of time at recently, with two races last year and 3 days of testing, with only a week off coming between testing and the Grand Prix. It means that Ocon will enter the Grand Prix really comfortable in the A521. Ocon has had a lot of time in the car which will help towards having a successful weekend.
“It’s a track we’ve been to a lot. Obviously, we’ve only had a week off from testing and we’re back in Bahrain for the first race, which is exciting. I think it means we’ll enter the race weekend more dialled into the circuit and we’ll use practice to refine things rather than find things.
“Testing was good for us. I left there feeling happy with how the A521 felt and how we worked as a team. We discovered some new ideas and now we have to put all that knowledge to work and execute a good race weekend.”
Ocon enjoys racing round Bahrain, with his first podium coming last year when he came second placed at an incident-packed Sakhir Grand Prix which when Ocon returned to the paddock for testing he was reminded of those happy memories and Ocon hopes to repeat the success of the late end last year.
However, for the time being the French driver will remain realistic and do the best job they can with the package available to them. Anything can happen, especially in the first Grand Prix of the year so any opportunities must be made the most of.
“I do like Bahrain. It’s a circuit, which will hold some very special memories for me forever. My first Formula 1 podium there last season, even if it was on the outer layout, was very special. When I was in the paddock last week, it reminded me of that awesome night. It’d be nice to repeat it again.
“We’ll remain realistic, though, and look to put together a strong race weekend and grab any opportunity that comes up. Anything can happen, especially the first race of the season, and we’re definitely looking forward to it.”
After three days of running in the A521 Ocon feels very comfortable in the car and has managed to exploit any previously unknown areas in the car. This test was the first time Ocon has had the opportunity to work with new team-mate Fernando Alonso, speaking regularly over the 3 days of the test which Ocon is looking forward to continue this collaboration throughout the season. Now it is time to get ‘down to business’ and do the best job they can and secure the highest possible constructors championship finish.
“The A521 was great and I was left feeling happy with all the things we learned and discovered about it. And I’m a big fan of the colour scheme! It was nice to work with Fernando for the first time properly. We spoke regularly over the test, gave each other comments while we were out of the car and exchanged some ideas to help drive the team.
“I’m looking forward to continuing the collaboration at a race for the first time, but we both know it’s time to get down to business and the target is to take as manypoints home as possible for the Constructors’ Championship.”