Ocon predicts 'tricky' Singapore GP with 'go-karts on kerbs'

Esteban Ocon (FRA), Alpine F1 Team 08.09.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 16, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, Preparation
© XPB 

Alpine driver Esteban Ocon says that he's expecting a wild time in next weekend's Singapore Grand Prix, predicting that the bumpy nature of the track will have a big impact on this year's Formula 1 cars.

It will be the first time that F1 has been to the Marina Bay Street Circuit since 2019, with the COVID pandemic forcing the cancellation of the race in 2020 and 2021.

Ocon wasn't racing in F1 that year, but had made three previous starts, finishing on the podium in 2017 with Force India but failing to finish in 2018 after a collision.

"I love Singapore, but the track itself is not my favourite," the 26-year-old French said this week. "They are go-karts on kerbs, it's going to be a tricky one.

"It's going to be very bumpy," he explained. "I think Canada has been pretty bad, but probably it will be one of the worst ones. It always is, it's not news.

“A big challenge I think for us, very physical," he continued. "It's not going to be fun. But we're up for the challenge.

"It's going to be interesting also to see who chooses what, in terms of set-up. If you go for the car that rides well, or the car that has grip."

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF90 leads at the start of the race. 22.09.2019. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore

Ocon will be starting his 106th Grand Prix next week, while his team mate Fernando Alonso will be lining up for his 350th race - setting a new record, previously held by Kimi Raikkonen.

Compared to that, Mercedes driver George Russell is a mere newbie. But the Briton is feeling more upbeat about his team's chances of doing well in Singapore, after finishing on the podium in the most recent race in Italy.

"On paper Singapore should suit our car," Russell said. “But when we look back at the street circuits of Monaco and Azerbaijan, our car doesn't fare too well over the bumps.

“So we're not too sure how it will fall out," he admitted. "But we need to keep on pushing, keep on improving the car, and I'm pleased that we've got a clear direction we need to go now.”

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates his third position in parc ferme. 11.09.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 16, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, Race

The team's technical director Mike Elliott agreed that Singapore could be one of the better circuits of the season as far as the W13 is concerned.

"When you look back at the learning we have gathered over the season I think we expect that Singapore will be a bit more like we’ve seen in Budapest and Zandvoort," he suggested.

“It’s a bumpy circuit which is going to provide its challenges," he mused. "But in terms of the nature of the corners, we think it could be a bit better for our car so hopefully we will have a good result there.

“As always with all the pre-simulation work we need to do, we will maximise our learning in the practice sessions and hopefully turn that into a good result over the weekend."

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