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Esteban Ocon

Ocon 'prepared for the worst' amid Alpine F1 concerns

Following a difficult pre-season test for Alpine, suggestions have emerged that the French manufacturer has taken a step backwards in the pecking order this year.

Ocon winter testing Bahrain Day 1
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Esteban Ocon has stated that he is “prepared” for the prospect of Alpine having the slowest car in the Formula 1 field at the start of the new season.

The French manufacturer endured a difficult pre-season test in Bahrain last week with its car proving difficult to handle while also failing to show encouraging speed in relation to the competition.

Although an idea over the pecking order won't become clearer until after qualifying this weekend, suggestions in the paddock have pointed out that Alpine could possess the slowest car.

When asked by RacingNews365 if he is prepared for a worst-case scenario, Ocon replied: “If things don't go to plan, obviously yes I'm prepared for that. But we haven't driven the car yet in full competition order.

“We don't know exactly. You guys [the media] are selling it the worst. It is a possibility, because we haven't pulled it together with everyone else. But it's not over.

“There are still going to be things to play for this year. And I need to keep on pushing. Because if you start that low, and with how you guys are speaking, I can quit and just exit the paddock right now. But no, that's not who I am.”

Alpine chasing 'one bigger issue'

Ocon stated that pre-season testing allowed Alpine to discover where it is facing difficulties.

“There is one bigger one [issue] than the others,” he said. “Most of the smaller problems we were able to fix in the three days of tests which has been good.

“So we had a good feeling over a lap in the car, which nice to drive, basically in terms of balance. But we've yes identified the issue clearly, so that's what we're going to be chasing.”

However, Ocon added that it is possible that Alpine will have a much different experience in Saudi Arabia for the second round due to the differences compared to the Bahrain circuit.

“That's something that we've looked at, some of the issues with the grip, with how the layout of the track is, it could be worse for us,” he said.

“But Jeddah is next week, so it's going to be two very different characteristics [of] track - one much more high speed [than the other], we'll see if that helps us.”

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