Formula 1 Racing

Ocon cleared up misunderstanding over Bahrain grid penalty after FIA meeting · RaceFans

Ocon cleared up misunderstanding over Bahrain grid penalty after FIA meeting · RaceFans

Esteban Ocon met with the FIA to discuss the penalty he received in the Bahrain Grand Prix for failing to line up in his starting position correctly.

The Alpine driver received a five-second time penalty for being illegally outside of his grid slot before the start of the race.

Ocon admitted being at fault, but said the difficulty of seeing the grid lines from the cockpit contributed to his mistake.

“Unfortunately, you can’t see very well in these cars,” Ocon explained. “Especially not when you’re on the grid like that. You can see the yellow line as a reference. But that’s up to me to fix that.”

He was originally under the impression that his car had been too far forward on the grid and accused four of his rivals of committing the same infraction. However, the Alpine driver later came to realise he had been too far to the right of his grid slot before the lights had gone out – a new rule which came into force at that race.

Ocon said he had spoken with the FIA in order to clarify the reason for the penalty and was happy he now understood his obligations under the rules.

“I had the meeting with the FIA, just to understand what exactly happened, and it’s clear now and we move forward,” he said.

“It was too much to the right, basically. So that’s where it could get confusing, because it was too much to the right and over the line.”

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The penalty was the first in a series of setbacks for Ocon during the race. After incurring front wing damage, he pitted to serve his five-second penalty but his crew touched the car before the time had elapsed.

Ocon was therefore handed a further 10-second penalty from the stewards. He then earned a third penalty for speeding on his way out of the pit lane. He and his team had amassed a total of 20 seconds of penalties before Alpine brought him in to retire after 41 laps.

“We admit our mistakes,” Ocon said. “In Bahrain, we clearly got it wrong.

“There’s a saying that when it rains, it pours. So that’s what happened to us in Bahrain. Collectively, we are usually very good on operational things like that. And this time, we were not.”

Ocon is more optimistic about Alpine’s potential performance in Jeddah compared to Bahrain after showing strong pace here last season.

“[Bahrain]’s definitely not our best circuit as a whole. Last year was a pretty similar thing. We got P9 in qualifying – but we qualified fifth here.

“We’ve been recently very…

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