Alpine driver Esteban Ocon has disclosed that he’s been actively involved in testing the 2024 model of their car on the simulator since September. This strategic move puts Alpine ahead in their preparations for the upcoming season, emphasizing the team’s commitment to improvement.
Ocon’s revelations, as reported by Motorsport Week, shed light on the prevailing atmosphere among several teams on the grid, especially with just two races remaining. The anticipation for the Las Vegas Grand Prix is palpable, but for many teams, the stakes are not as high.
With Max Verstappen securing the Drivers’ Championship and accumulating enough points to single-handedly win the Constructors’ Championship, the competition landscape is somewhat relaxed. Drivers like Oscar Piastri and the entire Alpine team have already solidified their positions in the standings, leaving them with the task of vying for personal achievements.
Ocon finds himself in a head-to-head battle with Pierre Gasly, who holds a 16-point advantage in the standings. Both drivers have clinched podium finishes this season, keeping the competition intriguing, with the potential for the gap to narrow.
However, Ocon has shifted his focus to the future, acknowledging that 2024 is Alpine’s main priority. The driver admitted to extensively testing the new car in the simulator, providing the team with valuable insights and the opportunity to address issues early in the development process.
In discussing Alpine’s preparations for the upcoming season, Ocon stated, “Obviously, the team is very well aware of where they have to go, in terms of improving the current situation. I’ve been driving the car quite a bit in the simulator, the 2024 model. Quite early on, compared to usual.”
While comparing the current and future models, Ocon highlighted the significance of simulator testing but acknowledged the unpredictable nature of the real-world performance. He emphasized the need for further development during the winter, including extensive wind tunnel time.
Alpine’s aspirations for 2024 extend beyond personal rivalries, as they aim to close the gap on the top five teams. Despite possessing a competitive driver lineup, they currently find themselves in a challenging position, faster than the bottom four constructors but striving to break into the upper echelons.
Ocon’s insights into the early testing phase underscore the meticulous approach Alpine is adopting as they gear up for the 2024 season. The French team, along with others, understands that the key to success lies in finding ways to challenge Max Verstappen and Red Bull, who have been dominant forces throughout the current season. As teams intensify their efforts for the upcoming year, the stage is set for an exciting and competitive 2024 Formula 1 season.