Esteban Ocon is looking to rebound from a poor Italian Grand Prix this weekend at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, and he is hopeful of returning to the top ten on Sunday evening under the floodlights to give himself a good birthday present.
The BWT Alpine F1 Team endure a difficult weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, their A523 being well off the pace not only of the frontrunners but of the midfield pack, and they left Italy without adding to their 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship points tally.
Ocon is expecting another physically demanding race in Singapore despite the track reducing from twenty-three corners to nineteen after it was redesigned ahead of the 2023 event, and he hopes to be in a position to capitalise on any opportunity that presents itself in order to maximise his result.
“I enjoy going to Singapore and, although this track poses some unique challenges, I do feel comfortable driving there,” said Ocon. “It is physically very demanding on the body, which of course all drivers prepare for, but I think driving around any city streets under the lights is always exhilarating.
“Unlike Monza, the Marina Bay circuit is a slower, twisty track, making it a very technical circuit for us drivers. Furthermore, we know that a street track like Singapore can present opportunities to do well and we will be looking to maximise these chances and aim to get back into the points come Sunday and make my birthday extra special!”
Marina Bay Circuit ‘One of the Trickiest on the calendar’ – Pierre Gasly
Team-mate Pierre Gasly says the Singapore Grand Prix has always been one of the more physical challenging races on the Formula 1 calendar, and he is expecting the same this weekend.
Gasly admits to enjoying the track and has broken into the top ten in both of the previous races at the circuit, and his aim this weekend is to secure another top ten finish for both himself and Alpine.
The Frenchman is keen to taste the new layout, which is expected to be significantly faster than the previous one, but it will only be in first practice where he will get a true reading on how much faster the Marina Bay Street Circuit now is.
“The Marina Bay Circuit is one of the trickiest on the calendar as it’s quite a bumpy street track with lots of turns and a lot of gear changes,” Gasly said. “On top of that, it’s extremely hot and humid in Singapore making this one of the biggest physical challenges of the year for us drivers and a place for which we have to carefully prepare.
“I do enjoy the track; I’ve scored points at the last two races there and certainly intend to make it three in a row. There is a slightly new layout with the removal of the chicanes in Sector 3 and instead a long straight leading into Turn 16.
“The lap is much faster than before and we’ll see what it’s like in Free Practice 1 and see what opportunities it might bring.”