Esteban Ocon drops Alpine sandbagging hint

Alpine’s pre-season testing form gave absolutely nothing away with regards to their true potential.

While pre-season testing results should be taken with a pinch of salt due to the fact that teams run different plans, fuel loads and tyres, it is possible to get a general idea of a team’s performances.

As expected, Red Bull and Ferrari topped the timing screens in Bahrain, while the majority of the other teams finished roughly where they were expected to.

Alpine looked like a complete mystery however, with the French team setting relatively slow times by their standards, giving absolutely nothing away heading into the first race of the season.

It is expected that Alpine were running different plans to the rest of the grid and were also sandbagging to hide their true potential, something which Esteban Ocon has hinted is true.

READ: ‘I’m not a sad person’: Guenther Steiner on enjoying ‘negative things’

“We didn’t want to be at the top of the times,” said the Frenchman.

“There’s not much point to being a testing champion.”

Not only are Alpine expected to improve their performance drastically at the Bahrain Grand Prix, they will also be bolstered by some upgrades which will reportedly be put on the A523 before the first race of the season.

New signing Pierre Gasly has explained that Alpine will be much faster during the first race of the season than they were in testing but has admitted that he is not exactly sure where his new team stand in the order.

Article continues below

“One thing I can say is that we’re going to be faster than during the test,” said Gasly.

“Where exactly, I don’t even know myself. We’re pretty confident and there were definitely positive signs of performance during the test.

READ: Helmut Marko reveals exactly how AlphaTauri sale rumour was started

“We haven’t pushed with the softer compound yet but we know that the package is there.”

Having finished fifth in their first season in F1 and fourth in their second, the natural progression for Alpine this season would be to break into the top three and leapfrog Mercedes.

The French team will face competition from Aston Martin for third place however, with Lawrence Stroll’s team showing that they are more than capable of challenging the best in the sport during pre-season testing.