Alpine’s Esteban Ocon says he will seek to return to the first half of the net in Austria after not scoring points in his home race last weekend in Paul Ricard.
Ocon qualified for P11 in France, but was never really a competitor for points during a race that proved challenging due to tire control, and more specifically during his first period on Pirelli’s hard rubber.
Ocon’s pit stop after 28 laps and switch to the medium deck left the Alpine charger a weak 17, from which he managed to advance to P14 as he crossed the checkered flag.
But the disappointing result, which was in contrast to team-mate Fernando Alonso’s decent run for P8, clearly left the Frenchman and Alpine with some analytical work on their hands ahead of this week’s Styrian Grand Prix.
“I was disappointed with the race in France,” Ocon does not surprisingly admit. “We just could not get into a rhythm during the race, especially in the first period with the hard tires.
“It was very difficult to manage, and it gives us some considerations to make to ensure that we are not in a similar situation this weekend.
“Tires have been a key area in Austria in recent years, so we have some preparations to do this weekend to make sure we’re back in the points.
“I’m definitely motivated and ready for the challenge.”
Last year, Austria’s double-headed opened the Covid-delayed 2020 season, but the venue was also the site of Ocon’s return to active service in F1 with Renault after a year on the sidelines as a Mercedes reserve.
This year’s rounds at the Red Bull Ring, however, have been given a completely different complexion compared to last season’s events.
“One thing that will be different this time is that we get fans in Austria and it’s exciting,” he says.
“Having fans in the stands, as in France, brings a whole new level of atmosphere and a real buzz. I really enjoy that and I look forward to seeing the fans again this weekend.
“Austria is a very unique circuit, especially with its location in the hills. However, I really like it, as it is not where one expects to have a racetrack!
“It’s a really beautiful location, so it’s always nice to spend two weeks. I have some fond memories of this track, as it was here I had one of my first podiums back in Formula Renault in 2012.
“Last year I also had my best qualification with the team in the wet, which was a lot of fun. Hopefully there are some more good memories for us to do there.
Speilberg’s layout is perhaps the least complicated and one of the shortest in the F1 calendar, but it just reinforces the need to “extract” everything from the car, Ocon emphasizes.
“Even though it’s a short lap, just over a minute, it focuses on pulling everything out of the car and getting every corner right,” the 24-year-old adds.
“There are nine corners that may sound easy as it’s less to learn, but in fact everything needs to be maximized.
“Small details are crucial to doing well in Austria. My favorite part of the lap is the double left-hander when turning 6 and 7. They are quite fast and very comfortable when you get them right.”
mail Ocon seeks to return to points in Austria after French GP dud first appeared F1i.com.