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Esteban Ocon

Alpine feared Ocon disqualification in Baku

Alpine endured a tricky weekend at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which included two pit lane starts for Esteban Ocon after concerns about a potential disqualification.

Ocon Baku
To news overview © XPBimages

Alpine have revealed that Esteban Ocon could have faced disqualification in Azerbaijan if he had not started from the pit lane in both the Sprint and Formula 1 Grand Prix.

The Frenchman lined up for both races in Baku from the pit lane, squandering his grid slots of 13th and 12th respectively, but failed to score points in either event on a troubled weekend for the team, which also featured a fire and crash on Pierre Gasly's car.

On a weekend that "snowballed" away from the team, Sporting Director Alan Permane has explained how Ocon could have been disqualified unless his car was taken out of parc ferme and set-up changes made.

Ocon's disqualification threat

"We were very concerned with Esteban’s plank wear, honestly, because we’d only had such a short period of time," Permane explained to media, including RacingNews365.com.

"At the end of the full qualifying session, it was looking tough, and we took the very difficult decision [to change the set-up].

"We were very worried about the car being illegal at the end of the race, or even before the end of the race.

"It is a direct consequence of what happened in FP1 (when Ocon's running was curtailed in the sole session)."

Teams are allowed up to 1mm of wear on their plank, which governs just how close the car can be run to the track surface – something even more important in the ground-effects era as this is how the cars generate their downforce.

Any more than the 1mm permitted will lead to the driver being disqualified from the race or session.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Positive signs with new floor

In better news for the squad, Alpine were one of a number of teams to bring upgrades to Baku – and their new floor actually exceeded expectations, according to Permane.

"It worked as performed. In fact, it overperformed a little bit. That’s a positive to take away from this weekend," he explained.

"It looks very much like we’re going to continue that trend of just being able to put things on the car without really having to test them too much, which is such a huge benefit, and something that we grew in confidence with last year.

"As more and more things come through, and we’ve got something in Miami, we’ve got something else in Imola. I'm not too sure where we are beyond that, but there's definitely another tenth coming, then another tenth.

"So there’s good stuff coming in the pipeline, and having that confidence that it will work first time is great.

"We’re very confident that our upgrades work. We saw that all last year.

"We can see within a few laps, although we only did do a few laps in FP1, everything looked normal.

"We also saw after the qualifying session the upgrades were fine, there was no risk to them."

Also interesting:

Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

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