Renault F1 engine gains mean Alpine isn’t scared of anyone anymore
Early in the race, Ocon battled with teammate Fernando Alonso, and he eventually finished sixth after the Spaniard retired with a driving loss.
At some stages of the race he also battled with other cars, notably Lando Norris’ McLaren in the final laps of the race, his sixth place taking Alpine to fourth in the F1 World Leading Constructors’ standings. .
Ocon has made it clear that Renault has taken a step forward with its revised power unit which has helped it battle with rivals, having missed out on straight line speed performance in 2021.
“Good. I mean, we didn’t have to worry about anybody,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com about the shape of the power unit.
“As soon as I had the DRS open I was able to pass, I was able to overtake Nico’s Aston easily [Hulkenberg]Lando in the McLaren.
“Who else? I mean Fernando was of course there. I could compare myself to a lot of different cars, and that worked out well for us.”
Ocon beat George Russell to fifth on the grid in Jeddah, but he acknowledged Mercedes are still ahead in the battle to be the third fastest team in race pace.
“[Russell] was faster than us,” said the Frenchman. “He wasn’t getting away as much as we thought, but he was still getting away from us.
“So they still have a bit of a race pace advantage and that’s something we’re going to work on.
“I think it’s been two very strong weekends for the team. Unfortunately, it’s a shame that Fernando didn’t finish the race, because the team doubled the points again. But we are improving.
“We were faster than Bahrain, so that’s very good. It’s very positive. It’s only the second race of the year, there’s more for us too. The start of the season.”
Esteban Ocon, Alpine A522, Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
Alonso also praised the new engine after the Jeddah race, noting: “I think we are in the stadium now with the others. We could fight on the straights with other people here and in Bahrain. . So let’s see.”
Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer stressed that the team will have to keep pace with the aerodynamic development race which will be the focus of the 2022 season with the new cars.
“Super tight midfield,” Szafnauer said. “Esteban finished better than the others today and Fernando would have been ahead of him if he hadn’t had this problem. So from that point of view we are happy.
“However, the learning curve for this car is so steep that it will be a development race, so we have to keep adding performance to the car. That’s where it is now.”
“But it won’t be the same tomorrow, unless we add performances, at least at the same pace as others. And what we’re trying to do is add performances at a faster pace than others. .”
Szafnauer admitted being close to Mercedes gave the Enstone team extra motivation.
“On race pace, watching the race here, they are clearly ahead of us. I don’t know, but maybe they had problems in qualifying. We will push hard to try and compete with them. But sitting here today, it looks like they probably have a better race car.
“It’s a carrot to keep pushing. It’s going to take us a few races, to have a variety of races, to really assess where we are in the pecking order. And then, like I said, it’s going to be a development race this year.”
Regarding the Renault powertrain, he added: “The guys from Viry, from what I see, have done a great job and improved the powertrain. They have done a wonderful job during the winter. And we have a good basis for further improvement.” .”