Esteban Ocon is confident that Alpine can make the next step to challenge the top three F1 teams in the near future.
After finishing fifth in the 2021 Constructors' Championship, the squad continued their progression in 2022 by beating McLaren to P4, having outscored them by 14 points.
While he feels that there is still a gap to the teams ahead, Ocon believes that the result puts Alpine in a prime position to challenge the leading outfits on the grid.
Ocon confident Alpine are on 'right path'
"We should be the next one coming in that fight, because we are the fourth [placed team]," Ocon told media, including RacingNews365.com, over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.
"We look to be in good shape at the moment and, hopefully, we're on the right path.
"Hopefully we can continue our way of improving things, and that will be the breakthrough for next year."
Along the way, Ocon feels that he too has progressed in 2022.
"I feel, on a personal note, that I've made the step on a lot of things, and it has been good,' he added.
"I feel like I've been getting the maximum out of the car, more times than I did last year. On many more occasions, I've been able to plan things, see things earlier in the simulator, and get more ready early on in the season.
"Obviously it was a different year, but if you take from where I started in 2020 – here, [in 2022], it took me three, four or five races to set the car up, [but] in 2020, [it] took me 16."
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Alpine's development gives Ocon hope
When asked whether Alpine can make another step and join the battle with Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes in the future, Ocon stated: "I think we can.
"We are, as I said, on the right path. It is the hardest step for sure; from fifth to fourth is close, from fourth to third there's a bigger gap.
"I'm not going to say that's going to be an easy thing straight away but, with the rate of development that we had this year, if we can keep that going still over the winter – and I tested already next year's car in the simulator – it's very promising.
"At some point, I hope [the top teams] won't find big ideas all the time, and we will all catch up at the top. We are the next in line."
Ocon will be joined by a new teammate at Alpine in 2023, with Pierre Gasly arriving at the squad to replace Fernando Alonso following the Spaniard's departure for Aston Martin.
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