Ocon explains why current F1 cars are 'not as much fun'

Esteban Ocon (FRA) Alpine F1 Team A522. 29.10.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, Mexico, Qualifying
© XPB 

Alpine F1 driver Esteban Ocon has added his voice to others who feel that today's Formula 1 cars are not as much fun to drive as those they replaced.

The sport's rules and regulations were overhauled at the start of the 2022 season in an effort to improve on-track racing and included the introduction of 18-inch wheels and the return of ground effect aerodynamics.

But there has inevitably been some trade off, with cars becoming heavier due to the introduction of safety features and some teams struggling with issues such as porpoising making it a much tougher physical challenge for drivers.

Asked whether the current cars are more or as much fun to drive as their 2021 counterparts, Ocon responded: "Unfortunately, no," adding: "they are heavy, it has less grip."

However Ocon wasn't entirely negative about the latest cars. "The degradation is a bit less I would say, so that is a good thing.

"[And] it's the first year of the new regulations, so it is going to get better and hopefully our [2023] car will go in the right direction.

He said that it wouldn't be a problem if everyone was finding the same problems. "As long as this year's car is not quicker, it is the same for everyone."

Ocon had the opportunity to do a direct comparison of the two most recent cars with a mid-season test session using the 2021 car at Monza.

"I tested at Monza with Jacques Villeneuve and I enjoyed it much more, and it definitely felt more of a quicker car," he confirmed.

Ocon made his F1 debut with Manor in the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix, and the technical rules have been fairly stable throughout the time following the introduction of the modern hybrid engines.

It means that the 26-year-old has not had the opportunity to race in some of the finest models of F1 cars from its so-called golden era.

"The years that made me dream about Formula 1 were 2005, 2006 when they had the tyre war," he said, recalling the period when both Bridgestone and Michael provided tyres to F1 teams.

"It was impressive because the technology was [advancing] so much," he said, adding that it had also been about "the fight between Ferrari and Renault."

"It was a cool engine which sounded great, the cars were mega light and it was very fast."

But for all his comments about the current cars, Ocon admitted that he would still opt for today's racing technology

"I think if I had to choose, I will still take the [current era]," he said. "Everything F1 has put now in terms of regulations to get the cars closer together - and racing wise - it is better now."

After stints with Force India and Renault, Ocon is now settled in at Alpine where last year he ended up pipping team mate Fernando Alonso in the final drivers championship standings.

With Alonso now departed to Aston Martin, Ocon will be partnered this year by compatriot and former childhood friend Pierre Gasly fresh from AlphaTauri.

The pair have had rocky relations in recent years, but insist there will be no problems working together at Enstone in 2023.

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