Esteban Ocon opens up on Alpine pressure as he comments on new management

Esteban Ocon was a driver for Renault in 2020 before making the transition with the team to Alpine, seeing the management structure change in the process.

Esteban Ocon’s story in Formula 1 has been far from straightforward for the Frenchman, having been dropped from the sport at the end of 2018 only to return years later.

The 26-year-old was involved in a relatively toxic relationship with his Force India teammate Sergio Perez during his two years with the team and when the season came to a close it was all but certain that Ocon would seek a fresh start with Renault.

The team eventually chose to appoint Daniel Ricciardo following his departure from Red Bull, leaving Ocon without a seat for 2019, but he eventually got his Renault move in 2020 when the team decided to part ways with Nico Hulkenberg.

The team then rebranded a year later to become Alpine, meaning Ocon had another adjustment period to deal with as the management team above his head changed completely.

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Otmar Szafnauer came in as team principal, while Laurent Rossi became the CEO of Alpine and Ocon has praised the effect that the change in management has had on the team’s fortunes since the rebrand.

“They are giving us positive pressure,” he explained.

“It’s not the bad pressure, you need to perform otherwise it would be over. It’s completely different. It’s the passion of racing, of motorsport.

“Since Laurent, Luca [de Meo] and Otmar have joined, I feel definitely more relaxed and I feel good. That’s why I should be super calm.”

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Alpine finished as the best of the rest team in 2022, warding off a late challenge from McLaren, all the while dealing with an unreliable engine which forced Fernando Alonso to retire from six races over the course of the season.

The team will have a blend of quality and potential in 2023, as Pierre Gasly arrives to replace Alonso, seeking to become a regular on the podium after several impressive years with AlphaTauri.

Renault, who supply the engines for Alpine, have suggested that they will be looking to solve the current reliability crisis ahead of the 2022 season, before turning their attention to designing an engine for the 2026 season, where the regulations change significantly.