Esteban Ocon makes ‘Fernando effect’ claim about Aston Martin

Fernando Alonso was expected to remain with Alpine for 2023, before suddenly announcing that he'd agreed to move to Aston Martin.

Alpine driver Esteban Ocon has shared his initial thoughts on Aston Martin ahead of the forthcoming 2023 season, with the Frenchman wondering if the British side are being seen as having a “very fast car” due to the “Fernando effect”.

Ocon’s former team-mate Fernando Alonso left Alpine at the end of last season to replace Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin, with the double World Champion having had a few digs at his former team since moving to the Silverstone-based outfit.

Big things are certainly expected from Aston Martin this season, given all the money that owner Lawrence Stroll has put into the side.

As well as having signed Alonso and several key staff, the team are also edging ever closer to having their new state-of-the-art factory opened.

READ: Mercedes claim ‘political elements’ hurt Nyck de Vries

Once it has opened, Aston Martin will have the best facilities on the grid, something which will apply further pressure on them to perform.

Ocon has revealed that Aston Martin’s 2023 car looks very strong based on its aerodynamics, with Alpine perhaps expecting a duel with the British side this year.

“Everyone is talking about them,” he said.

“I don’t know if it’s the ‘Fernando effect’ or if they will be faster, but it looks like a very fast car when you look at its aerodynamics from the outside,” Ocon said, as quoted by El Mundo Deportivo.

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Focusing on Ocon, it’s been a challenging off-season for the Frenchman, who contracted a nasty virus that wiped him out for a good amount of time.

Thankfully, he does now “feel good” but has given an insight into what his winter break has been like dealing with the virus, to the extent where he “was quite worried”.

“For a month and a half, I basically couldn’t work out,” said Ocon.

“I feel good now but these viruses are very powerful and we need to be careful with them.

“Even when I was walking, my heart rate was going off the scale. For a long time, I was quite worried.”

Ocon impressed last season and will be hoping to make further progress this season; however, he does have a new team-mate to deal with.

Replacing Alonso at Alpine is fellow Frenchman Pierre Gasly, who Ocon reportedly doesn’t have the best relationship with.

READ: ‘We are the same’: Andretti fires back at Stefano Domenicali’s comments

The pair have gotten on just fine so far, though, and are making sure they put the team first, meaning their partnership won’t be “story of the year”.

“You like this story. Story of the year!” Ocon laughed.

“It hurts me to disappoint you, but there is no story. There will be no headlines about this.”