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Esteban Ocon

Ocon reveals A524 issues discovered in 'December'

Alpine have started the 2024 F1 season at the bottom of the pecking order, following dreadful winter break and a flurry of departures.

Ocon Saudi Arabia
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Esteban Ocon has revealed that Alpine became aware of the issues with the A524 in "December", which have so far resulted in a miserable start to the 2024 F1 season.

Weight is one issue for the Enstone-based outfit, something they have tried to address by significantly reducing the amount of paint on the car. A significant amount of exposed carbon is present on the A524 and was a key takeaway of their launch ahead of pre-season testing.

In terms of performance, Alpine were nowhere in pre-season testing and at the back throughout the season-opener last weekend. Ocon and Gasly both qualified on the last row of the grid and could only salvage 17th and 18th in the race in Bahrain.

However, the two Alpine drivers would have likely finished P19 and P20, if Valtteri Bottas had not experienced a pit-stop which lasted almost a minute, and if Logan Sargeant had not stopped on circuit briefly following an issue with his steering wheel.

A lot of work is required at the French outfit to get back into the midfield, although they were seemingly prepared for the miserable start to the season, after first discovering the issues with the A524 last year.

"In the simulator in December," Ocon revealed to select media including RacingNews365. "I think that's when we realised that there was some issues that we needed to fix. And you know, that's probably when did realise it."

No 'overnight' solution

What has not helped Alpine's chances of quickly improving are the recently confirmed resignations of technical director Matt Harman and senior engineer Dirk de Beer. Long-time Formula 1 engineer Bob Bell has also left the team.

A technical restructuring has since been announced by Alpine, although Ocon is aware that work will be needed for the entirety of 2024 to improve.

"I think the whole year, you know, we need to improve, step by step," admitted Ocon. "Obviously, it's going to take time, it's not going to be something overnight."

In terms of upgrades, Ocon has confirmed that the team is targeting to introduce new parts throughout the record-breaking campaign.

"There is a plan to bring updates throughout the year. So, hopefully, after every update, we're going to make steps."

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