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United States GP: Preview - Alpine

NEWS STORY
18/10/2023

Esteban Ocon is fresh and ready to take on Austin after a superb Sunday display in Qatar, which was rewarded with six points in seventh place.

And with some impressive names on board, Esteban discusses COTA and investors ahead of the United States Grand Prix.

After scoring points in the Qatar Grand Prix, how do you feel after the performance there?
Esteban Ocon: It was a very tough and physically difficult race for all drivers but, in the end, I am very satisfied with the job we did on Sunday, coming home with six points for the team. The conditions were challenging but we managed to stay focused on the task at hand and earn those deserved points. As a team we have a lot to learn going forwards and there were many learnings from last weekend and, all in all, it was a positive few days for us. Since Qatar, the work has not stopped and we have been pushing hard the last week in the factories to be as ready as possible for the Sprint weekend in Austin and the rest of the triple-header.

How do you prepare for the challenge of a triple-header?
EO: After taking a couple of days to rest and recover following Qatar, the focus quickly turned to the next rounds and how to prepare as best as we could for the upcoming races. This meant physical preparation as well as simulator work back at Enstone and meetings with the engineers to debrief and discuss our various action plans. Three weeks on the road can be an intense time for everyone in Formula 1 so we will need to look after ourselves, keep our heads down, and focus on the important things. We'll be looking to carry the momentum from the last Grand Prix into Austin and put ourselves in a good position to fight for points in the Sprint and in the main race.

What are your thoughts on the Circuit of the Americas [COTA], our next destination and the first leg of the upcoming triple-header?
EO: It's always exciting to race in America, especially in the last few years. Our sport has grown so much in that part of the world, and you can feel that every time you go back there. I really like Austin as a city and COTA is a cool track with a great atmosphere and a good flow to it. It can be a challenging circuit, but it often produces great racing. I am looking forward to driving in Texas and get our weekend started.

What do you make of the team's new strategic investors?
EO: It was a pretty cool announcement with some incredible athletes coming on board and investing in the team. It is an exciting time for us and we are very glad to have this positive addition to our team, together with the wide sports vision and expertise that it will bring. As a fellow athlete, I am especially excited to have Patrick [Mahomes], Rory [McIlroy], AJ [Anthony Joshua], Travis [Kelce], Trent [Alexander-Arnold] and Juan [Mata] join us and I cannot wait to properly meet them and personally welcome them to our team.

Pierre Gasly is determined for a better reward in Austin this weekend after missing out on points in Qatar. And with news of some of the world's best athletes joining the team as part of a strategic investment, Pierre offers his thoughts on this week's United States Grand Prix.

What are your main reflections of Qatar?
Pierre Gasly: In the end it was a weekend where we left without reward even if we showed promising pace across all three days. We were back in Q3 with both cars which is a big improvement and we came out the blocks quickly with the car well dialled in from the start. In the Sprint we took an aggressive approach by starting on Soft tyres. It turned out to be the wrong choice given the Medium runners succeeded. We had good pace and it was encouraging as we finished quite close to the Ferraris ahead on a similar strategy and who started higher than us. The race was a frustrating one for me. Again we had good pace and were on course for points before I paid the price for going over the limit of very tight track margins in tough conditions. I hold my hands up for that. It was a physically tough race for all of us as has been well shown online. I felt okay, it was hard and hopefully we won't be going through that again soon!

How are you preparing for the United States Grand Prix?
PG: I really enjoyed spending some time at home in France before this upcoming triple header. It was great to see family and friends, celebrate my Dad's birthday and generally recharge the batteries after a very busy couple of weeks. I watched the Rugby World Cup - it was a huge pity for France to lose - but what a match against South Africa. So intense and just incredible to watch even if it was a bitter end for us. I spent a day at Enstone on the simulator preparing for these next races as well as some physical training to stay sharp and ready for Austin, Mexico City and Brazil. First up, Austin. It's a good track, demanding in its own right and my mind is on delivering points for the team across both days as it's another Sprint race weekend.

What did you make of the new investor talent?
PG: I'm a huge sports fan so I must say I was very excited with the news by Otro Capital. I've actually been watching Quarterback on Netflix recently so to hear of Patrick Mahomes and his team-mate Travis Kelce being on board is exceptionally cool for me. I've been getting into golf recently, so I cannot wait to meet and hear from Rory [McIlroy]... and hopefully sharpen up my skills! I seem to be surrounded by Liverpool fans at the team who will no doubt be happy with the Trent [Alexander-Arnold] news! AJ too is an exceptional athlete and I met Juan [Mata] in Suzuka with a hot lap and he's a top guy who really enjoyed his first Formula 1 experience.

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