Formula 1

Alpine’s Otmar Szafnauer reflects on Ocon’s three penalties in Bahrain: “Operationally, we must do better”

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Credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team

It was a bittersweet season opener for BWT Alpine F1 Team, with Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer saying that he was pleased to leave the Bahrain Grand Prix with points in hand, but feels that the race revealed some shortcomings in the team. 

Esteban Ocon retired late in the race after accruing three separate time penalties– one for not being properly in his box on the start, another because the pit crew began working on the car before said penalty was completely served, and a final one for speeding in the pit-lane.

After losing out on the opportunity to have both cars fighting in the points, Szafnauer said that the team needs to improve “operationally” in order to avoid making the same errors in the future. 

“While we can be satisfied to come away with points from today’s race, given how everything played out, we also leave Bahrain knowing we have a lot of hard work ahead of us. On Esteban’s side, and operationally, we must do better to make sure there is no repeat of what happened today. 

On the other side of the garage, Pierre Gasly managed to finish the race in ninth place, recovering many positions from last place on the grid. Szafnauer was impressed by Gasly’s debut performance with the team, which got them off the ground by adding two points to the team’s tally. 

“We demonstrated that we had the pace today to have both cars inside the points and that has to be the objective going forwards. Pierre did a fantastic job to put behind a very disappointing Saturday and come back strongly to go from the back of the grid to the points, so credit to him on a solid debut.”

Szafnauer said that Alpine will reflect on their time in Bahrain back at home base before setting off for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, where he hopes to see the team in even stronger form.

“It’s been a busy and intense two weeks for the team in Bahrain and we look forward to returning to Viry and Enstone, where we will debrief as a team, before returning to the track in Jeddah where we aim for a much improved performance.”

Credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team
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