Monday, June 24, 2024

Esteban Ocon anticipates Sprint weekend in Baku: “We’ll have to be on the pace straight away”

BWT Alpine F1 Team’s Esteban Ocon looks forward to making a comeback at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after an unfortunate double-retirement for the team in Australia, where he and team-mate Pierre Gasly collided on the second restart– ending both of their races. 

“It was good to have a little break after the Australian Grand Prix to properly debrief after the race and analyse the weekend as a whole.

“Obviously, it did not end well for us but there were many positives to take from the weekend, and we are fully focused on bouncing back strongly in Baku.”

Having had a lengthy break, Ocon said that he is ready to get back to racing in Baku with new updates to his A523. He emphasised the importance of acclimating to Baku City Circuit quickly with the new sprint format, which sees teams receive only one practice session before qualifying. 

Above all, Ocon hopes to have a “positive” result in Baku redeem some points the team missed out on last time out, causing them to drop behind McLaren F1 Team in the standings. 

“As a team we’ve already been looking forward to Baku for a while now so we’re all glad this new race week is finally here.

“An upgrade is planned for this race too, it’s a slightly new format with the Sprint, so that means we’ll have to be on the pace straight away. We need a positive weekend and aim to leave Baku with deserved points for the team.”

“You just never know in Baku…anything can happen!” – Pierre Gasly

Gasly gave Baku City Circuit high praise for providing lots of excitement and unexpected results, including his last podium finish back in 2021. With the new sprint schedule being implemented, the French driver said that it will be crucial to make it to the end and take advantage of any openings. 

Being a street circuit that tends to have high attrition, Gasly said that Baku is likely to yield another interesting race off the back of a highly-chaotic weekend in Australia. 

“The Baku City Circuit is an insane track for Formula 1. I love it there. We have an interesting format to get through and it’s going to be all about staying alive in both races and capitalising on any opportunities that might come up.

“I’ve had past success in Baku from just keeping it clean and taking chances – including in 2021 for my latest podium in Formula 1. You just never know in Baku…anything can happen!”

Gasly is excited to see the new developments coming through from the factory, and is setting his focus on a strong, representative performance in Baku.

“I’ve been to Enstone over the past few days and I’m excited by what the team is bringing and by what we have in the pipeline. It’s time to keep my head down, work hard and aim for strong performances that are rewarded with what we deserve!”

Credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team