Esteban Ocon says he has been assured that Alpine’s bosses and engineers will listen to him as well as returned two-time team champion Fernando Alonso.
After Imola, where 39-year-old Alonso finished just behind his French teammate Ocon in tenth place, the Spaniard admitted he is still getting up to speed after two years out of Formula 1.
“I probably didn’t have confidence with the car in Bahrain, not here either, and I won’t have it in Portimao,” Alonso said at Imola. “You can’t reach 100 percent overnight.”
24-year-old Ocon, however, is already up to speed, having been paired at Renault last year with Alonso’s predecessor Daniel Ricciardo.
The Frenchman insists he is being “treated the same” by Alpine.
“In our team we are treated the same, both in terms of what we have in the car and how we are listened to, which is very important,” Ocon is quoted by the Spanish sports daily Marca.
He says he actually made a point of reminding Alpine about equal treatment when he learned that he would be paired with the notorious Alonso in 2021.
“It was a very clear point on my part,” Ocon admitted. “I was very clear – I want them to listen to me as much as Fernando.”
Recently, Renault CEO Luca de Meo described Alonso as a sort of “Godfather” to the team based on his reputation, experience and past successes.
“Obviously he brings his great experience, and that is always a plus,” said Ocon. “But as soon as we talk about the details of the car, we are even in that way.”
Ocon, whose bosses also admit that Alpine is slightly behind its 2021 targets, confirms that the Enstone based team has work to do.
“We are not where we want to be exactly, but we have taken a step with the result that we achieved (at Imola) and both Fernando and I have felt good with the car,” he said.
Ocon qualified ahead of Alonso at Imola, before the pair finished at the tail end of the points in the race.
“I think we have our place in the top 10, that’s clear,” he said. “It was not an easy weekend so I think we have the potential to be seventh and eighth, something like that.”
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