British GP: Preview - Alpine


Esteban Ocon scored two points from the Austrian Sprint Race to add to his season tally. The Frenchman looks ahead to this weekend's British Grand Prix on the fast and flowing Silverstone Circuit.

It was not a straightforward weekend in Austria. How do you reflect on it all after a couple days?
Esteban Ocon: It was certainly a mixed weekend for us in Spielberg. We had a decent Sprint Race on the Saturday but, overall, as a team, we were not satisfied with how the weekend turned out. The end result highlights where we are lacking especially in terms of being able to fight with our close rivals in front who, at the moment, are a couple of tenths of a second ahead of us. Silverstone is this weekend, a home race for Enstone, so we are hoping for a good weekend and we'll be working hard to attain the good results, of which we are capable.

The big talking point of the weekend were the track limits and ultimately the penalties that many drivers received after the race. What are your thoughts on the whole situation?
EO: Of course, something has to be done as it is not normal to allegedly have over 1,200 instances of track limits during a race. I think there has been some strong recommendations to revise the track for next year to avoid this, with gravel traps for instance, and that is the right thing to do. I also further believe there needs to be some change with the current system that analyses track limits live during the race. I was one of the few drivers on Sunday who did not get a penalty relating to track limits during the race and if the team knew that I was going off and risking penalties, they would've warned me. And of course, like any driver, I would've adjusted my driving to avoid these penalties. We are all trying to do our best out there and we will always take a deserved penalty but there clearly needs to be changes moving forward.

The team can bounce back this weekend in Silverstone. Do you enjoy driving this historic circuit?
EO: Silverstone is such an iconic track with a nice flow and an exciting mixture of high, medium, and slow speed corners. The famous Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel combination is very fast and cool to drive, especially in these high-downforce cars. More generally, the circuit is known for its high-speed corners and regular short straights, and the exposed track at Silverstone also means that the wind can have an important, and often unpredictable, effect on all the cars. This weekend, we will have an upgrade on the car, so we hope to improve our performance this weekend following a difficult weekend in Austria. We hope to have a good race in front of the all the passionate British fans, but also in front of many of my UK-based colleagues, given our factory in Enstone is not far away. It will feel a bit like a home race in a way and I'm really looking forward to racing this weekend.

Pierre Gasly enters the British Grand Prix weekend feeling determined for a more positive showing than Austria where the Frenchman scored one-point in tenth place. Pierre explains his post-Austria thoughts and previews Silverstone; a stone's throw from the team's base in Enstone.

After scoring a point in Austria, how do you assess last weekend's performance?
Pierre Gasly: On one side, it does feel like we maximised our performance in the race and crossing the line in ninth place was pretty much the best we could achieve. We beat one Aston Martin on track and were not too far behind the Mercedes in front. We lacked pace in Austria and we need to understand why. We were a step behind our rivals, especially in the race and that meant we were only in the mix for the minor points places. Of course, a long time after the race, we were demoted to tenth place with a post-race penalty for track limits.

Are you looking forward to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix?
PG: What I like about to back-to-back races is the fact there is an immediate opportunity to race again and prove a point. It's the Enstone team's home race and that adds additional motivation to race for the staff members who will no doubt be at the race weekend in big numbers in the grandstands! Silverstone is one of the most famous and historic circuits in racing. It's an exciting track, high-speed with some good overtaking chances especially into Turn 3, Turn 6 (Brooklands), Turn 9 (Copse), Turn 15 (Stowe) and Turn 16 (Vale). Silverstone is where I drove the A523 for the first time in February ahead of my Alpine debut, which was an important moment in my career as I started a new chapter in Formula 1 with the team. We have an upgrade for this race - the first of a couple coming up - so I look forward to seeing the benefit it brings to the car. The aim is to have a smooth weekend with big points in the bag come Sunday. I'm feeling ready, let's go!

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Published: 05/07/2023
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