Formula 1 Racing

Visor tear-off cost likely points finish to Alpine F1 team

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524, leaves his pit box after a stop

Ocon had made his first tyre change on lap nine, just before the tear-off became lodged in a brake duct of his Alpine A524 to trigger overheating.

At the time, he was in a fight with Kevin Magnussen, Alex Albon and Nico Hulkenberg, with both Haas drivers eventually finishing in the points. However, the brake temperature issue obliged Ocon to make a second stop just seven laps after his first.

It was too early to allow him to get to the flag without a third stop later in the race to refit the little-used hard tyres that he had abandoned earlier.

He was classified 16th, behind the Saubers of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, both of whom suffered lengthy delays in the pits.

“Before the tear-off we were fighting with Kevin, Alex and I was in front of Nico,” said Ocon when asked about his race by Autosport. 

“So we were on for possible points, from ninth to 11th, I think that would have been where we finished today.

“Unfortunately, we’ll never know the outcome, but it was an interesting race.

“I was happy with how we progressed, the pace we had, we were keeping up with these guys. So it was looking good.”

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524, leaves his pit box after a stop

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Expanding on what happened with his brakes, he said: “On the first lap, I got a tear-off in my mirror, that was the first thing.

“And then a couple of laps later, it’s not the same tear-off, it’s another one that goes in my brake duct.

“The whole rear of the car was going to burn, if we didn’t stop. It obviously was the safe thing to do.

“Maybe keeping going would have made us retire, we will never know, so not much that we could have done.

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“I also had the radio failing by lap 30. It’s like if the Wi-Fi is horribly bad and it keeps cutting, basically!

“So a lot went wrong a bit with just being unlucky, I would say.

“I think the thing to remember is the progress that we’ve done this weekend, slowly, but hopefully we can keep that going.”

Ocon believes that Alpine made a step forward in Melbourne with understanding how to set the difficult A524 up.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

Photo by: Alpine

“I think that race has been the strongest out of the three, definitely, in terms of pace and performance,” he said.

“And it’s good. It means that it’s going in the right direction.”

“Everything’s relative, but relative to the first two, definitely it’s a step up. And the car felt…

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