Alpine has “no margin” in battle for F1 points 


Fernando Alonso

The team previously known as Renault endured a tough season-opening Bahrain GP, with Fernando Alonso retiring and teammate Ocon finishing down in a disappointing 13th position.

It was the first time since last year’s Spanish GP that neither of the Enstone team’s cars finished in the points.

Ocon’s race chances at Sakhir were compromised by starting from 16th on the grid after he was unable to complete his final flying lap when he encountered yellow flags for an incident involving Carlos Sainz.

With an extremely close fight in the midfield, Ocon believes Alpine needs to get everything right in order to be in the top 10.

“It is clear that what hurt us is the starting position,” said Ocon. “If we were starting inside the top 10, of course you are already inside the points, but even 11th or 12th there would have been a chance for us to get into the points.

“We don’t have any margin and we need to extract the maximum out of the car to be able to do that.

“We have clear ways of seeing where we are lacking a little bit of performance or where we have an area to improve. We know where it is, it is up to us to find that and find more pace for the next events so that gives us a bit more of a margin.”

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While Ocon has hailed the 2021 Renault engine as the best he’s driven in Formula 1, the Frenchman acknowledges Alpine still needs to recover some of the chassis performance lost through the regulation changes.

He says, however, that his team has already pinpointed the key areas where it needs to improve.

“Of course the new rules have changed a lot of things,” he added. “As everybody says, it is a year that we keep the same rules and carry-over from last year, but this is not the reality.

“In fact, most of the car is new for everybody. For us for sure as we know what we have on the car. Everybody lost a good amount of grip and downforce and everybody is trying to get that back on the cars.

“At the moment with the new rules everybody is slower and we are as well compared to the car we had last year so we know where to find the time and we know where to recover that laptime.

“The part of spotting where it is, that is now done, now we have to do it.”

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