Esteban Ocon can feel like days at Manor when he was far off the field, but the difference is the closeness this time than before.

It has obviously not been the start that Alpine and or Ocon would have hoped for to start the 2024 F1 season. It has been difficult for the team but the Australian GP was slightly better when the French driver made it in Q2 for the first time this year.

Not just him but teammate Pierre Gasly too were fighting for track position in the race. In fact, Ocon believed points were possible if they weren’t caught out by a tear-off stuck in his brakes which needed to plucked out in a long pit stop derailing his outing.

Despite some promise, it is overall been gloomy for Alpine. And Ocon knows it too. “I mean, we obviously where we are, it’s not a situation that we are enjoying as a team,” he said. “I think none of us, you know, in Viry or Enstone is enjoying struggling that much in the weekends.

“It’s a long season and obviously we are working towards, trying to optimise the car, understand where our issues are and to turn things around. Hopefully, you know, it’s more simple to say than to make it. So until we make it, it’s only words. But this is the aim that we have as a team.

“And yeah, we are not going to release the pressure on that until we get there. And that’s the aim out of everyone. The morale is good inside the team. Everyone’s motivated and that’s the most important at the moment,” summed up Ocon, who when asked about the issues, he mostly put it down to lots of things at one go.

But he notes that the difficulty that Alpine faces is the tight field with the likes of Haas, Williams, Stake F1 Team and Visa Cash App RB very closely bunched. He recalls his Manor days of being at the back, but states the current scene has the field close than those days.

“There’s a lot of small things that are not working the way we would like, but the field is so tight at the moment that details in the end, if you have many that are not right, make a huge difference,” said Ocon. “I remember being that far off the grid with Manor, but nowadays it’s a lot closer to the field.

“The field is a lot more compact from P1 to where we are and it’s a very different way of sorting things out. So, yeah, we will see where and how we progress through the year, but the aim is to progress.”

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