Ocon expected to bounce back in Jeddah after Bahrain bust


Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer expects Esteban Ocon to bounce back in Jeddah next weekend after "a string or errors" by team and driver undermined his race in Bahrain.

The opening round of 2023 in Sakhir was a total bust for Ocon whose hopes of a top-ten finish after qualifying collapsed under the weight of three different time penalties that totaled 20 seconds, sanctions that ultimately decided Alpine to retire the Frenchman's car as

All was not lost however for the Enstone squad as Pierre Gasly, who had inexplicably botched his qualifying on Saturday, ending the session dead last, carved his way through the field to finish a strong P9.

"Pierre raced from the back of the grid to ninth place and his drive required good decisions, a well-executed strategy and strong race pace; all of which we showed," commented Szafnauer in his team's Saudi Arabian GP preview.

"On the other side, we made too many mistakes across the weekend, and we can all do a better job to improve on those.

"I believe Esteban’s race was a one-off, a culmination of a string of errors, some on his side, some operationally, and his side of the garage will undoubtedly bounce back in Saudi Arabia.

"Right now, we know the A523 has potential. We just have not exploited everything to the maximum yet and there’s work ahead of us to achieve that.

"It’s a long season, we’ve opened up with points and we must keep pushing as a team," concluded Szafnauer."

The troubles encountered by Ocon at Sakhir mean that the 26-year-old is looking forward to getting back on track in Jeddah and starting afresh.

"What is most important is we learn from our mistakes and make sure they are not repeated," he said. "The team and I will move on together and that’s why we are looking forward to Jeddah.

"Pierre did a great job in the race, starting from the back of the grid to score his first points. I take many positives from that as it shows the car has potential to come through the field, which shows we have good pace.

"We just have to unlock that to its maximum – on both Saturday and Sunday – and I see this weekend as an opportunity to bounce back and I look forward to it."

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