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Renault engine best I've had in F1, says Ocon

Esteban Ocon says Renault’s new power unit is the best engine he has ever driven in Formula 1.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A521

The former Mercedes reserve and test driver is starting his second season at the rebranded Alpine team, after an encouraging 2020 campaign as he got himself up to speed at the outfit.

And with Renault introducing some upgrades to its power unit for this year, ahead of an all-new concept coming in 2022, Ocon says he is impressed with the progress he feels has been made over the winter.

“I think it is a step forward definitely,” he said.

“The team has worked on some areas and we have seen already in pre-season testing it was a step better. The rules are different but haven’t changed so much, so the teams have new ideas and new thoughts behind what they do.

“I think it is the best power unit so far that I have run in my whole career. It is hard to compare with the other ones.”

As well as testing for Mercedes, Ocon raced with the German car manufacturer’s benchmark power unit during his earlier career at Manor, Force India and Racing Point.

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New teammate Fernando Alonso, who is returning to F1 after two seasons away, says he has no complaints about the engine after his early testing experience.

“I think power unit comparisons are always difficult to make because it is not only the power of the engine, the regulations have changed slightly, like the constant engine mode for qualifying and the race, which was introduced last year,” he said.

“There are always different things to compare. But what I can say is that we are already happy at Alpine with the power unit we have this year.

“It is an evolution of last year obviously and it felt very strong and very good in testing. We had zero issues and we accumulated a lot of laps.

“And I think the main difference in the last six years I have felt is the reliability improvements. It is quite difficult to see any problems on any of the engines. It has been an impressive job from everybody.”

Additional reporting by Tom Howard

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