Monday, March 4, 2024

Ocon Seeking to Find the Rhythm at ‘One of the Highlights of the Season’ Suzuka

Esteban Ocon is looking to return to the points in this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, a year after one of his more impressive outings of this FIA Formula 1 World Championship career.

Ocon was on course for a top six result on his birthday last weekend in Singapore only for a mechanical issue to end his day, and the Frenchman is hoping for better luck this weekend at the Suzuka International Racing Course.

Last year the BWT Alpine F1 Team driver withstood pressure from Lewis Hamilton in a much faster car amid difficult and often treacherous conditions at Suzuka to claim a top four finish, something he would love to emulate this weekend in front of the passionate Japanese fans.

“I absolutely love Suzuka and, for me, it is one of the highlights of the season,” said Ocon.  “This track has such a nice flow to it, and it is such a pleasure driving there.

“In the past, we’ve seen that overtaking is not always easy compared to other tracks, but the racing is always good. Us drivers always need to quickly find a rhythm around there, especially through the Sector 1 Esses.

“Once you’ve found that, the lap time will improve, and it becomes a really fun circuit to drive. I had a great result here last year with a strong fourth place and I can’t wait to race in front of the passionate Japanese fans who always make it such an amazing experience to come here.”

“I really hope we can go there and have a great performance” – Pierre Gasly

Team-mate Pierre Gasly is in full agreement with countryman Ocon, feeling the Suzuka circuit is one of his favourite tracks to visit during a season, even though he is expecting it to be a tough challenge once more this weekend.

Gasly comes to Japan after finishing sixth in Singapore, and he is keen to make it back-to-back top ten results this weekend, in front of fans who he knows will offer a lot of support to each and every driver on the grid.

“Suzuka is one of my favourite tracks on the calendar, so I really hope we can go there and have a great performance,” said Gasly.  “It’s a circuit all of us drivers love as it’s fast, has some challenging corner combinations and usually provides good racing.

“Japan is a very special place for me from my Super Formula days as I spent a lot of time in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya during my season back in 2017. I remember my first event at Suzuka and being completely blown away by the volume of support from the fans.

“It’s incredible, so special and warming and every year we are there for Formula 1 it is the same. I love the support, I’m so thankful for it and I can’t wait to experience it again this weekend where I aim to make it back-to-back points on track.”

Pierre Gasly is going for back-to-back points finishes this weekend – Credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team