Ocon has “big respect” for Aston Martin’s progress: “We should all take example of that”

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2023 has seen a skake-up in the order as Aston Martin took a huge step forward over the winter. After finishing P7 in the Constructors’ Championship last year in a car that ultimately proved to be disappointing, the Silverstone-based team have made a huge step forward this year.

Fernando Alonso has scored five podiums in six races with the AMR23 to be P3 in the Drivers’ Championship, and the team is sitting P2 in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend.

Alpine had a strong 2022 with Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso as the Enstone squad secured P4 in the Constructors’ Championship. However, the step forward made by Aston Martin has left them as the fifth force in the sport so far this campaign.

Speaking about the leap Aston made over the winter, Ocon says Alpine and other teams must take inspiration from that.

“I think big respect to Aston Martin for what they are doing. I think they’ve shown really the way that this is possible, to go from the midfield to be a top team and we should all take example of that.”

Alpine head into this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix on the back of a podium that was desperately needed. There was some stinging criticism from their CEO Laurent Rossi recently, but Ocon delivered a superb weekend on the streets of Monaco to ease some of the pressure and tension.

Ocon was much happier with the feel and balance of his A523 in Monaco, but he wants to remain cautious about how they might go in Spain — a circuit full of medium and high-speed corners — before hitting the track.

“I think it’s a very different track in terms of characteristic here but clearly the car fell more alive and I had a lot more confidence in it to start the weekend.

“We did bring some updates that were supposed to be quite small but everything we had it goes in the right direction today.

“Yeah, it definitely felt good and I hope that this is the start of something, but I think we need to keep our feet to the ground, see where we are next weekend. It’s going to be a good test.”

The podium for Ocon was his third in Formula 1 and his first since that amazing win at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix. It also means five of the ten teams on the 2023 grid have now visited the rostrum this season so far.

Ocon says there is a lack of predictability in the sport at the moment and a couple of tenths either way can really change the course of a weekend.

“Formula 1 is unpredictable. You don’t know what’s going to happen and at the moment how tight the field is, a little bit more pace can change your weekend completely.”

Alpine showed strong pace already in Australia and demonstrated good speed in Miami, too. However, it took until Monaco to put a big result together. The French driver is hungry for more rostrum appearances this season after P3 on Sunday.

“This weekend, it’s been an awesome one, an awesome preparation and yeah, as I keep saying, we keep pushing, we don’t stop believing and hopefully that’s the first podium of many.”

Photo credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team