Esteban Ocon is blunt on stating that Alpine can’t be satisfied with where they are, but notes that the F1 teams is continuing to push.

For Ocon personally too it hasn’t been the start he wanted to his 2023 F1 season especially after the disaster-stricken Bahrain race. He came back well in Saudi Arabia by not only scoring points but also finishing ahead of Pierre Gasly.

But in the bigger picture, Alpine were far off from Mercedes, Ferrari and Aston Martin who they think are their competition. This is something that Ocon says they should not be satisfied with considering where they finished the 2022 F1 season.

“No, we can’t be satisfied with where we are at the moment,” said Ocon to media. “There are a couple of teams that have improved massively over the others. It shows that it is possible, and we need to keep fighting, we need to keep digging, keep thinking, and that’s the atmosphere inside the team as well.

“But no, we can’t be satisfied with where we finished in Saudi Arabia. Personally, I am happy to finally start my season, let’s call it that way. We maximised qualifying, we maximised the race as well. We couldn’t hold the cars in front, really. We thought at some point it was going to be possible to hold the Ferraris, but they were too fast, and they pulled away in that middle phase of the second stint.

“So we just managed the pace, bring the car back home. A strong weekend as a whole, but we need a little bit more to be able to catch the cars in front. That’s where we were in the race. So hopefully we understood plenty. And we can come back strong to the next one,” summed up Ocon.

While they finished eighth and ninth on the road, it was an up and down Saudi Arabia weekend where they looked good on Friday, but lost their charm in qualifying when they had to fight to make it in the Top 10 which at one point looked easier in practice.

Ocon agreed that the team had to dig a bit to regain performance and it isn’t that they have two polar opposites ideas and styles with the car. “It hasn’t been a good feeling from the start,” he recalled. “And especially in FP3 the car really didn’t feel as I would have liked, the rear was very loose.

“The car was quite tricky to put together, and we turned it around, from FP3 to qualifying. So a strong job from my side of the team to have been able to do that. We had to fight to get a car the way we wanted and to have confidence in the car. Because if you’re not confident here, you’re nowhere.

“Also, the driving style is not very far apart to be honest and the car they have more or less converged together and we are quite different before. In qualifying and race they were very-very close, so it is something for us to analyse definitely to understand. It is still early days learning about the car, that’s what we are doing,” summed up Ocon.

Here’s McLaren pair and Alpine pair on Saudi Arabia weekend