Formula 1 Racing

Ocon admits “stupid mistake” after penalty for Leclerc collision before race · RaceFans

Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Miami International Autodrome, 2024

Esteban Ocon said a “stupid mistake” was to blame for the penalty he received before yesterday’s sprint race began.

The Alpine driver was given a 10-second time penalty for leaving his pit garage in an unsafe fashion during the pre-race reconnaissance laps and colliding with Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari.

“It was honestly a stupid mistake to do because it’s not the type of moment that you need to be taking risks,” Ocon told the official F1 channel. He said there has been “a clear misunderstanding between myself and the mechanic” who was controlling his departure from the Alpine garage.

“At first he said go, and then when I was looking to exit, obviously at the end, he said stop again. But I was too late. So it’s just a big mistake on our side and we need to be doing better on this sort of things.”

The stewards gave Ocon one penalty point on his licence, his first in over 12 months, after ruling he failed to observe the mechanic’s instruction.

“From the video evidence, it appeared that the driver was not released by the team representative (the number one),” they ruled. “In fact, the video shows the number one trying to tell him to stop. The driver nevertheless left the garage and the collision ensued.

“We considered that what happened was more serious than some of the precedents given that the driver was not released and that there was a resulting collision.

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“We therefore impose a 10-second penalty with one penalty point to the driver.”

After finishing the sprint race 15th, Esteban Ocon went on to qualify two places higher for today’s grand prix. He revealed a power unit problem cost him some time in qualifying.

“It was a tricky session,” he said. “I think we unfortunately didn’t make a step forward in terms of car behaviour.

“On top of that we had a small engine deficit. We lost a tenth and a half in the straights and looking at how close everything is, unfortunately it didn’t help us to go through in to Q3.

“Hopefully that will be gone by tomorrow, it’s a different engine mode in the race, so we need to see if that has an impact. But I had small cuts, basically, through qualifying and we need to understand where that’s come from.”

The stewards cleared Ocon’s team mate Pierre Gasly after investigating whether he joined the fast lane incorrectly during qualifying. However Zhou Guanyu was given a formal warning for doing the same, and reprimanded for…

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