“Anxiety? No, enthusiasm! “. Esteban Ocon thinks positively, and it could not be otherwise. At the age of twenty-five, he has just returned from a season in which he scored two very important hits: his first victory in Formula 1 and a contract extension expiring at the end of 2024. The change of regulations for Ocon is not a cause for concern. French is excited to check out the new Alpine single-seater on the track, the one he hopes will allow for an important leap forward in the hierarchy.
The doubts about his internal confrontation with Alonso, who held the bench twelve months ago, vanished in the course of 2021, now Ocon is a staple of the Alpine program, and as such he hopes to be supported by a single-seater capable of reviving him at the the emotions experienced last year in the Hungarian Grand Prix as soon as possible.
How exciting is it to enter a new Formula 1 season with all-new cars?
“This year is extremely exciting for Formula 1 and obviously for us as a team as well. It is as if the cards have been redistributed, it is a new beginning and at the moment no one can say who will be in front of everyone. You might think that this situation could cause some anxiety, because in fact we are about to start a journey without references, but on the contrary, I find it all very exciting. I don’t think it will be decisive to start the season in front of everyone, it will be much more important to confirm ourselves in a good position during the year, we know that there will be a lot of work on the development of the cars by all the teams, while we will fight in track there will be another competition, no less important, between the various design departments! It will be very interesting for us drivers to understand how the technical innovations will impact the behavior of the cars, if we can follow an opponent in the slipstream and all the rest. We will have a clearer picture at the end of the tests ”.
You saw the A522 on paper and tested it on the simulator. How long have you been waiting to drive it on the track?
“I am very excited, I can’t wait to ride it. It is always a privilege to bring a new Formula 1 car to the track for the first time, because you know how much work is behind the project, how many sacrifices have been made in the Enstone and Viry offices by all the people who work in the various departments. That feeling of responsibility is truly unique and very special. It is a burden on the shoulders but also a stimulus to give the maximum “.
After taking your first Formula 1 win last year, how confident are you on the eve of this season?
“The feeling of having achieved the first victory in a Formula 1 race is fantastic, but the objectives change quickly and now the target is to repeat myself as soon as possible, hoping that one day I will be world champion. Now we will focus on the present, which is the 2022 season, we do not yet know where our opponents will be, but initially the work will be focused only on ourselves. Of course, there are always voices reporting rumors about other teams, some will be ahead, others not, but it’s hard to say today. What I know is that our goal will be to finish the race weekends with no regrets, to give everything we can, this is my approach to the season that is about to begin ”.
Are you satisfied with your physical and mental preparation completed during the winter?
“The training and preparation went well. Last season ended rather late, and this forced us to reduce a bit the time we dedicate to training in view of the next championship. I kept busy working with Alpine Cars, which I really enjoyed, as well as helping the team prepare the new car. I feel ready, physically and mentally, so let’s get on track and see what we have in our hands for this season ”.
Photo by: Alpine
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