Alpine F1 driver Esteban Ocon is happy with the work done over the course of 2021 by his team, as the French constructor managed a fifth-placed finish in the teams’ championship.
The Alpine name emerged as a rebranding of the Renault team in a bid to further promote their sports brand, and Ocon also found himself working with a new team-mate in double world champion Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard, who won both his F1 championships with Renault, was considered a difficult team-mate for Ocon to beat ahead of the 2021 season getting underway.
And, although Alonso did indeed outscore Ocon over the course of the 22 races contested in 2021, the pair were relatively evenly matched, with the Spaniard scoring 81 points, while the Frenchman picked up 74.
The 25-year-old took his maiden victory at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix en route to an 11th-placed championship finish; Alonso finished one place ahead of him in the standings.
In every facet, Ocon believes Alpine have developed well in a tough year.
“I think [we made] huge progress – everything we’ve done inside operationally, taking strategy decisions, looking after the tyres, looking after the car itself and getting the maximum out of it,” said Ocon.
The Frenchman maintains that the car this year was not as effective as the 2020 season, but sees the two podiums as a sign of the team’s ability to extract the most out of the car.
“It’s been huge progress and I’m very pleased we’ve done that this year. Of course we got two podiums, almost three this season for the team with a car that didn’t perform as good as last year.
“I think we had not as good a package. We still managed to overcome these issues, get on top of it and still score very decent results. We want to keep going and once we have the pace, we will be quite dangerous.”
Asked about his favourite moments this year, the answer was easy.
“[The highlight of the year] was of course the win in Budapest,” said Ocon.
He described the emotion of the victorious moment, with months of hard work culminating in a race win as Alpine’s efforts were vindicated.
“The moment I stepped on the car and saw the supporters, the fans in the grandstand cheering for that moment…I think this is mega. This is what we live for, this is why we push for good results.”
Ocon and Alonso have been retained by Alpine for the 2022 season.