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Alpine F1 Team

Alpine warned despite 'best race' of troubled season

Upgrades were added to the Alpine in China, and whilst its problems were soothed, Esteban Ocon has issued a warning.

Australia Ocon
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To news overview © XPBimages

Esteban Ocon has warned Alpine that it is "too early" to suggest it has turned a corner in its troubled 2024 campaign, despite an encouraging Chinese Grand Prix.

The Enstone team is yet to score a point in 2024 after its A524 machine proved overweight and lacking in downforce as the team switched car concepts over the winter.

Heading into Shanghai, its best result was a 13th place apiece for Ocon and team-mate Pierre Gasly in Saudi Arabia and Australia, respectively.

But the team performed well in China, with both cars making it into Q2 and Ocon falling narrowly short of bagging a first point of the season in 11th place, just behind Haas's Nico Hulkenberg.

However, the one-time grand prix winner was not getting carried away with the improved showing.

"At the moment, we haven't scored one point this season, so it is early to say, but it is our best finish of the year with both cars," Ocon told media including RacingNews365.

"We need to be careful what we read into it, and also who was there in that race, there was many things happening and a lot of contenders were at the back, so that is the other thing we need to be careful of.

"But at the same time, I feel like it was a very strong weekend on the operational side and in my driving, so I'm happy with that.

"I'm a bit disappointed at the same time not to be in the points, we ended 2.3s away which is difficult to swallow, given the job we did.

"It was fully maximised and this was my best race of the season, and clearly there was nothing left on the table.

"Not to have that reward is pretty sad, but we are going in the right direction, small steps at a time."

Simulation problems?

A major problem that has plagued Alpine has been that its chassis is well over the weight limit of 796kg.

With that extra weight in the car, it is unable to move ballast to aid the centre of gravity, with the under-powered Renault power unit also slowing the car.

For China, a new light-weight chassis was introduced, along with a new floor with Ocon given use before Gasly receives the parts in Miami.

Despite the encouragement, Ocon felt the team's simulation numbers might have been better than what reality showed.

"It is a very good effort, on that side of weight-wise, it is definitely a step-improvement," he said when questioned by RacingNews365 on the shedding of 2kg.

"We're obviously expecting more on the aero side, but we need to dig in to see if we were managing to extract the maximum from it, and if it brought the performance we thought it did bring in the simulator.

"I think there was probably more in the simulator that we found compared to the track."

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Qualifying