Following their virtual unveiling of the A521 with a striking new livery yesterday, Alpine became the latest F1 team to complete a filming day. Frenchman Esteban Ocon got the opportunity to be the first one to drive the 2021 challenger, with Fernando Alonso preparing himself for testing in Bahrain after his road accident last month.
Ocon will be hoping for a vastly improved campaign as he struggled to get near Daniel Ricciardo during the 2020 season. The 24-year-old was outqualified 2-15 by the Australian last year and finished 57 points adrift of his stablemate in the standings as he ended up 12th in the Championship.
Nonetheless, the French driver did finish last season quite strongly. He scored his maiden F1 podium with a P2 in the penultimate race of 2020 at the Sakhir Grand Prix and outqualified Ricciardo for the first time in the dry at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He faces another tough test against his two-time World Champion stablemate in the upcoming campaign.
Ocon said he had good fun today and left the circuit with a smile on his face.
‘’It was really good fun today. First of all, it was nice to get in the car again at a track like Silverstone as that’s always something special. The car felt nice to drive for the first time and we managed to get through our programme as planned.
There was a bit of a delay this morning with the fog, but once that cleared, the track was dry and that made the running very enjoyable. I wish I could drive for more than 100km, but that’s the limit, and I leave here with a smile on my face. We want to take that into Bahrain next week when conditions will be more representative with the race tyres and some heat.
All in all, it was a very interesting day and I can’t wait to discover more about the car. I have to say, I love the new colours. It’s the best-looking car on the grid!’’