Esteban Ocon says the development of the Renault power unit has begun to prove its worth and his BWT Alpine F1 Team can go into any weekend knowing they are at least on par with their rivals in the power department.
Alpine are the only users of the Renault power unit, and Ocon has scored points in both of the opening two races of the year, while team-mate Fernando Alonso also scored in the Bahrain Grand Prix before unfortunately retiring in Saudi Arabia.
Ocon believes the power unit is much better in 2022 than it has been in recent years, and as a result he was able to battle on track with other cars more confidently than he would not have been able to previously.
“We didn’t have to be shy of anybody,” Ocon said to Motorsport.com. “As soon as I had the DRS open I could pass, I could overtake easily the Aston of Nico [Hülkenberg], Lando [Norris] in the McLaren.
“Who else? I mean Fernando of course was there. I could compare to many different cars, and it was working well for us.”
Ocon acknowledges that Renault still has work to do in order to be a competitive engine over race distances, but compared to recent years, they are much closer to the front of the field than they have been and were not that far away from Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s George Russell in Saudi Arabia.
“[Russell] was faster than us,” Ocon added. “He was not pulling away as much as we thought, but he was he was still pulling away compared to us. So they still have a little bit of race pace advantage clearly and this is something we are going to be working on.
“I think it’s been two very strong weekends for the team. Unfortunately it’s a shame that Fernando didn’t complete the race, because there was a double points finish for the team again. But we’ve been progressing.
“We’ve been faster than Bahrain, so that’s very good. It’s very positive. It’s only race two of the year, there’s more for us to come as well. And yeah, I’m pretty pleased with coming with that many points at the start of the season.”