Alpine driver Esteban Ocon has claimed that he put the French side “in the right direction”, having previously accused former team-mate Fernando Alonso of having not done his fair share of work behind-the-scenes.
Ocon performed very well in 2022 and was a consistent points finisher, with the Frenchman having finished ahead of Alonso in the Drivers’ Championship.
This was largely due to the fact that the double World Champion suffered reliability problems at a concerning number of races, whereas Ocon was able to make it to the end of most.
Alonso retired from six races last season, whilst Ocon only retired from two, with the Spaniard having likely finished above the Frenchman if it weren’t for his reliability woes.
Despite Alonso’s issues, the team still managed to claim fourth in the Constructors’ Championship and finish above McLaren, hailing them as the best midfield side of 2022.
It marked an overall solid start to the new aerodynamic era of F1 for the team, who will be hoping to make further progress in the upcoming season, especially with Pierre Gasly having replaced Alonso.
Ocon revealed what it was like to actually drive the new cars after the close of the 2022 season, with the French driver having admitted that the heavier cars were “very stiff in general” and “not easy” to drive.
“Not easy,” Ocon told media, including GPFans.
“It took quite a lot of time. It was not a nice car to drive, and it was still difficult at times, for everyone.
“They are heavy, very stiff in general, and when there is a bumpy track it is quite tricky to find the compromise between grip and feeling the ride.
“Having all the wheels on the ground at all times on the track is quite important, obviously, and it was quite difficult to understand at first, so it took me quite a few races.
“I was lucky enough I gathered the team in the right direction early on for them to bring upgrades, and they worked.
“So even if we were not 100 percent with the setup, we were still performing in the top 10, and that was nice.”