Coming off an eighth place finish in Saudi Arabia, BWT Alpine F1 Team’s Esteban Ocon looks forward to tackling the Australian Grand Prix amid an energising atmosphere of “passionate” fans in Melbourne.
“Australia is always a favourite for drivers and teams. Melbourne just has a special vibe when F1 is in town and the fans are so passionate. It’s well worth the long trip and the jet lag!”
Reflecting on his last time out in Melbourne, Ocon said that the adjustments made to the Albert Park Circuit enhanced racing there, allowing for more passing, while staying true to its “challenging” nature.
“The track itself is fun and the changes made last year I think really improved the circuit with better overtaking opportunities. It’s still a challenging track, both technically and physically, with a lot of changes of direction at low and high speeds.”
Considering the variability and difficulty of Albert Park’s turns, The French driver said that the team will be focused on putting together the best possible set-up ahead of race day. He added that the team is excited to hit the track after a week off.
“We know braking stability, kerb riding and car agility will be important to the set-up of the cars. It was good to have a week to recover and prepare, but I know the team is ready to go again and we can’t wait to start our weekend in Melbourne.”
“Albert Park is a great circuit and another different challenge for us this year” – Pierre Gasly
Team-mate Pierre Gasly suggests that the unique traits of Albert Park Circuit will provide the team another perspective on the performance of A523, as well as a demanding weekend of racing for the team.
“Albert Park is a great circuit and another different challenge for us this year. We’ve seen how we are at a conventional circuit in Bahrain, a fast street circuit in Saudi Arabia, and now we will see how we are at Albert Park, which is different in characteristics.”
The French driver crossed the line right behind his team-mate to take ninth place in Jeddah, securing Alpine their first double points finish of the season. Now onto his third round with his new team, he’ll be looking to extend his streak of finishes in the points.
Gasly is, however, aware that the team will have to be at its best throughout the weekend to secure the points that they are aiming for. Australia serves a personal motivation to him as well, as he looks to make up for the points that he feels he has missed out on in past times out in Albert Park.
“It’s a fun circuit, quite bumpy in places and we have to be immediately on it if we’re to come away with a satisfactory feeling and points on the board.”
“Australia is a place where I’ve not scored as many points as I’d have liked in my Formula 1 career, so it’s time to put that right this weekend.”