It was a rather pleasant beginning of the season for Alpine driver Esteban Ocon, in the points for four consecutive races and consistently outscoring his teammate Fernando Alonso, readapting to F1 after a two-season break.
His good form secured him a contract extension with the French team Ocon got his first F1 podium in 2020, signing until the end of 2024 and silencing the rumours that had wanted him close to Mercedes.
However, the Frenchman has struggled in the last races:at Baku he was forced to retire in the early stages because of a "boost pressure loss".
Even worse, at both Red Bull Ring races he failed to score points, starting both times from P17, finishing the first race in P14 and retiring in the Austrian GP in the first laps, involved in an accident with Antonio Giovinazzi and Mick Schumacher that sent him out on the gravel.
On another hand, lately Alonso has been on a roll, scoring in the last five consecutive races, including Alpine's best 2021 performance so far, P6 in Baku, and battling his way up on the grid to P10 in the Austrian GP after failing to get in Q3 because of an impediment by Sebastian Vettel.
Esteban Ocon said that it's hard to pinpoint a single specific issue to blame for his underwhelming driving, and that he hopes that changing "as many parts as we can" for the British GP will help him improve his performance:
“We see a few things, and we are seeing some deficit, but it is hard to place the finger on exactly what it is. We will start from fresh in Silverstone, change as many parts as we can on the car, and hopefully come back much stronger."
Especially after seeing his teammate ending Q1 in P3 in the last race, whereas he didn't make the cut to Q2, Ocon is determined to understand what's wrong with his A521, even thought he added that the car felt good, but lacked pace:
“For sure, to be one second slower on the first run [in qualifying] compared to Fernando, it is too big, the difference. There’s definitely something that was not working right, and that we need to understand.”
It'll be hard work, but the gap between Austria and Silverstone will be in Alpine's favour, giving the team more time to try and find a solution to Ocon's issues:
“There’s still a few more days to think about it, think about what we can do. And yeah, restart as fresh as we can be, because obviously the deficit and the performance that we had was not good enough this weekend and last weekend.”
Ocon stressed that his seriousness in approaching racing and preparing the GPs hasn't changed since renewing his contract with Alpine, as he keeps being extremely focused off the grid and on track driven by the same motivation as before:
"I’m really determined to do well and to push as hard as I can for the team. I am putting [in] as much work as I was doing earlier this season, I’m going to the factory as much and I’m just giving it my all like I was before I signed the contract."
“It has nothing to do with the performance we have at the moment," he concluded.