Alpine’s 2024 F1 nightmare: Ocon, Gasly prep for ‘the worst’

Esteban Ocon has joined forces with teammate Pierre Gasly to hint at a less-than-ideal start for Alpine in the 2024 season, suggesting they might just have “the worst car” on the grid. The Renault-backed team, once a contender in the midfield, now faces the daunting prospect of lagging behind, possibly even trailing Haas in the performance rankings. Amid whispers of an overweight and underpowered car, the team’s plight seems grim.

Bruno Famin, the man at the helm of Alpine, is playing his cards close to his chest. Speaking to DAZN, Famin hinted at weight issues but stressed the need for a deeper analysis. Meanwhile, the rumor mill is in full swing, with key engineers reportedly eyeing exits, and both Ocon and Gasly on the lookout for a lifeline for 2025.

Ocon’s revelations in Bahrain shed light on Alpine’s pre-season predicaments. “It didn’t come as a complete surprise,” he said, reflecting on the simulator sessions that exposed glaring weaknesses in their 2024 contender compared to its predecessor. While Ocon kept mum on the specifics, he acknowledged a significant hurdle that overshadowed minor fixes made during testing. The quest for balance isn’t the issue; it’s the pace that’s missing.

The French driver painted a picture of a team outpaced by rivals’ unexpected leaps. “I think the other teams have improved significantly more than we expected,” Ocon remarked, highlighting the unpredictable nature of F1’s technological arms race. Despite this, Alpine’s early diagnosis of its flaws could be the silver lining, with actionable feedback already making its way back to the team’s bases in Enstone and Viry.

Ocon, whose career is under the watchful eye of Mercedes’ Toto Wolff, remains hopeful, drawing parallels with McLaren’s slow start and eventual comeback last year. The goal is clear: replicate McLaren’s journey from the back of the pack to the sharp end. Yet, Ocon is cautiously optimistic, understanding that promises of progress are only as good as the results they yield.

As the F1 circus sets its sights on Bahrain, Ocon’s wry smile betrays the gravity of Alpine’s challenge. “You’re selling Alpine as the worst car,” he quipped, acknowledging the uncertainty that pervades the paddock before wheels hit the track. With the season opener just around the corner, Alpine’s true standing is about to be unveiled, but Ocon and Gasly are braced for a reality where chasing Haas might be their immediate future.

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