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Ocon: Alpine "not satisfied" with current F1 pace

Alpine Formula 1 driver Esteban Ocon says his team "can't be satisfied" with its performance at the start of the 2023 season.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Ocon and team-mate Pierre Gasly were both left asking for more performance after they finished eighth and ninth in the Saudi Arabian GP.

The two cars ran a few seconds apart for much of the race, with the drivers enjoying a brief fight after the safety car restart.

The A523's pace clearly indicated that it is the fifth quickest car at the moment.

Ocon made it clear that the current performance is not good enough, adding that the team is working hard to make progress.

"No, we can't be satisfied with where we are at the moment," he said. "There are a couple of teams that have improved massively over the others.

"It shows that it is possible, and we need to keep fighting, we need to keep digging, keep thinking, and that's the atmosphere inside the team as well. But no, we can't be satisfied with where we finished today."

Ocon was relieved to at least score points after the nightmare of his multiple penalties in Bahrain.

"Happy to finally start my season, let's call it that way," he said. "We maximised qualifying, we maximised the race as well. We couldn't hold the cars in front, really.

"We thought at some point it was going to be possible to hold the Ferraris, but they were too fast, and they pulled away in that middle phase of the second stint.

"So we just managed the pace, brought the car back home. A strong weekend as a whole, but we need a little bit more to be able to catch the cars in front. That's where we were today. So hopefully we understood plenty. And we can come back strong to the next one."

Ocon conceded that he hadn't felt comfortable in the car for much of the weekend.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Photo by: Alpine

"No, it hasn't been a good feeling from the start," he noted. "And especially in FP3 the car really didn't feel as I would have liked, the rear was very loose. The car was quite tricky to put together, and we turned it around, from FP3 to qualifying.

"So a strong job from my side of the team to have been able to do that. We had to fight to get a car the way we wanted and to have confidence in the car. Because if you're not confident here, you're nowhere."

Asked by Motorsport.com if he was expecting more from the Jeddah race, Gasly agreed that he had higher hopes.

"I'd be lying if I said no," he said. "Personally I thought that we would have a bit more pace to join the fight ahead of us.

"And unfortunately, we just finished where we are at the moment, eighth and ninth, it's pretty much just where we are. I think we were 10 seconds behind the Ferraris.

"Mercedes was definitely faster than we thought. And that's just what we've got at the moment. And we need to analyse what we can do better."

Gasly had a frustrating qualifying session after declaring that the car felt better than ever in FP3 – in contrast to his team-mate – and he was still not happy on Sunday.

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"On the positive my second race with the team, the second time in the points and things sort of were slightly more consistent throughout the weekend," he said.

"But still stuff to work on. I felt very good on Saturday morning, but things got a bit trickier in qualifying, and again [in the race] I struggled a bit with the same thing.

"So we'll review everything. But overall, I guess it's only the second race, so it's all about building up and learning and putting things together as fast as possible.

"We sort of have our ideas on where we need to improve. It's still early to make a very strong conclusion on what and why. But generally, we know what to improve."

 

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